Publication:

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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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?

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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.

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The ABCs of Judea and Samaria: Towards Breakdown?

No. 339
| April 8, 2016

The three types of area jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) – A, B and C – were meant as a short-term fix until a real Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be crafted. More than 20 years later, both sides have broadly infringed on these parameters. Israel regularly penetrates Area A for security reasons, while the PA (with EU support) is building illegally and dangerously in key parts of Area C that are critical to Israel. Israel should halt this encroachment with determination.

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The Syrian Civil War: An Interim Balance Sheet

No. 338
| April 6, 2016

The desire of the international community to end the Syrian civil war is offset by the inability of any individual party to enforce its preferred solution. The conflict, which is likely to continue for some time, has solidified the centrality of Russia and Iran in regional affairs. Israel’s options are limited.

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Israel and Europe After Brussels: What Insights Can We Share?

No. 337
| March 30, 2016

Israel, which unfortunately has had a great deal of experience with terrorist violence, has much to offer Europe in its own confrontation with Islamist terror. Once Europe has internalized the reality that it is fighting a war, Israel can advise it regarding strategies like effective intelligence collection, disruption of enemy money supply, and interference with enemy access to the internet.

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Israel’s Five Policy Options Regarding Judea and Samaria

No. 336
| March 29, 2016

When Mahmoud Abbas departs from his post as leader of the Palestinian Authority, Israel will have to make strategic choices. This paper discusses five possible policy approaches, none of which is ideal. They are caretaker conflict resolution, creative friction, constructive chaos, unilateral withdrawal, and unilateral annexation. The caretaker option is probably the most feasible; unilateral withdrawal is the least. In every case, however, Israel will have to maintain a military presence in Judea and Samaria.

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Putin's "Sacred Mission" in Syria

No. 335
| March 27, 2016

Russia's intervention in Syria cannot be fully explained by strategic or economic factors. Russian political culture, which has been permeated since the fifteenth century by a messianic vision of apocalyptic redemption, has long been a significant guiding factor in the decision-making of Russia's leaders.

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The Russians Are Leaving Syria. Why the Surprise?

No. 334
| March 23, 2016

The partial departure of Russian forces from Syria reflects Vladimir Putin's achievement of several well-defined goals, including the stabilization of Bashar al-Assad and the bolstering of Russia's global diplomatic position. The resultant balance of power in Syria gives Israel time and space with which to bolster its defenses.

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Libya: The Next Frontier?

No. 333
| February 29, 2016

As Islamic State (IS) continues to suffer reverses in Syria and Iraq, great pressure can and should be brought to bear against it in Libya, where IS dominance has the potential to threaten vital Western interests. Forceful foreign intervention may be required to protect the central Mediterranean from IS encroachment.

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Implications of Greater Chinese Involvement in the Mideast

No. 332
| February 25, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Middle East does not indicate an imminent new balance of power in the Middle East, but does suggest the prospect of greater Chinese involvement in the region over the long run – a likelihood that Israel and the other Middle Eastern states should take into account. Israel should continue to improve its economic and political relations with China, but not lose sight of the constant tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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