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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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