Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

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Lebanon 2006-2016: Deterrence is an Elusive Concept

No. 349

In the years following the 2006 war, Hezbollah has increased the quantity and quality of its missiles and rockets by tenfold. We must think, therefore, about the next operation in Lebanon. The destruction will be enormous, and IDF ground forces will have to act decisively and quickly to counteract fire and inflict great losses on Hezbollah. If the IDF practices well ahead of the campaign (as opposed to in the days before 2006); if the political parties are clear in their intentions; and if their orders are related to the reality on the battlefield, the IDF should achieve a great deal. As always, the next question will be how to translate those military achievements into political achievements – and to do so more effectively than in 2006.


The Turkish-Israeli Reconciliation: A Balance Sheet

No. 348

The Turkish-Israeli reconciliation – while raising legitimate moral questions – yielded terms very much in Israel’s favor, compared to where things stood recently. Legal threats have been averted, Turkish pressure over the siege of Gaza has been lifted, and the prospects for full Israeli participation in NATO activities are significantly brighter. The rapprochement should have no ill effect on Israel’s relationships with other friends and allies in the Eastern Mediterranean.


The Importance of Interests in Israel-Turkey Reconciliation

No. 347

The Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal boils down to mutually beneficial interests; not trust, and certainly not sympathy. This deal will bolster Israel's security as well as its international standing, making the price worthwhile.


Occupation Is Not the Problem

No. 346
| July 4, 2016

The proposition that “occupation” is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the “occupation,” but in response to its ending.


No One-Shot Solution to the Hamas Challenge

No. 345
| June 30, 2016

The use of massive force in a “once-and-for-all” military operation cannot purge Hamas from Gaza because it has deep roots in Palestinian society. Israel’s only sensible option is to continue to employ a militarily modest and politically calibrated “mowing the grass” strategy, which is designed to occasionally knock back Hamas military capabilities and enhance deterrence for an admittedly limited period.


Chemical Weapons Could Change the Game in Syria

No. 344

The Syrian regime unleashed full military grade chemical weapons against IS several weeks ago, a move that occasioned little response from the wider world. The assault demonstrated that the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal has not been fulfilled. If repeated, the attack might precipitate a dangerous escalation of the conflict in which IS accelerates its own pursuit of WMDs.


Why Israel Should Not Adopt Unilateral Initiatives

No. 343

The moribund state of the peace process has prompted the suggestion of two opposing unilateral “solutions”: either Israeli withdrawal from, or the annexation of, parts of the West Bank. Neither would be wise policy.


Between Paris and Cairo: Balancing Security and Diplomacy

No. 342

The measured Israeli reaction to the latest flurry of problematic diplomatic activity reflects Jerusalem’s more central security imperatives, as well as its newly-discovered sense of being a significant regional player rather than a besieged small state in a hostile sea.


Israel's Palestinian Dilemmas

No. 341
| May 3, 2016

Israel has gradually come to realize that the Palestinians are neither a partner for peace nor capable of establishing a viable state. Therefore, Israel's recent governments have adopted a de facto conflict-management approach, rather than a conflict-resolution strategy. This prompts several questions. Should Israel speak explicitly about the dim prospects of a two-state solution, or play along with the illusory preferences and pretensions of the international community? Should Israel apply more “stick” than “carrot” to the hostile Palestinian Authority? Would the collapse of the Palestinian Authority serve Israel's interests? And how diplomatically active should Israel be on the Palestinian issue?


Sailing through the Straits: The Meaning for Israel of Restored Saudi Sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir Islands

No. 340

The fact that Saudi Arabia has now undertaken to uphold in practice the obligations assumed by Egypt under its peace treaty with Israel, means that Israel's place in the region is no longer perceived by Arab leader Saudi Arabia as an anomaly to be corrected. This is a far cry from normalization of Saudi relations with Israel, but it is nevertheless a welcome ray of light, demonstrating the benefits of cooperation and coordination in a region beset by violence.