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The Australia-Israel Be’er Sheva Dialogue: Round Three

November 23, 2017,

On November 1, 2017, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies met in Tel Aviv, Israel, at the third Be’er Sheva Dialogue to build on the work initiated at the first round, held in Israel in 2015, and the second, held in Sydney last year. The third Dialogue once again underlined how each state can contribute to the other’s security interests.more

Belief in Palestinian Openness to Two-State Solution Amounts to Insanity

November 23, 2017,

Rather than look at the historical record of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draw the self-evident conclusions, Uri Avnery retreats into a counterfactual fantasyland.more

Reflections on Deir Yassin, the Nakba, and War Crimes

November 22, 2017,

Two recent books make an important contribution to the study of the Palestinian Nakba. Dr. Adel Manna explores the 1948 fall of the Galilee, based on memories of local Arab inhabitants; while Professor Eliezer Tauber debunks the myth of the Deir Yassin massacre, which became one of the Nakba's foundational events as early as 1948. These studies pave the road to reassessing the Palestinian tragedy within the conflict’s past, present, and future wider context: Jewish localities were occupied by Arabs in the 1948 war, war crimes were perpetrated against Jews by Arabs, and present-day Palestinian schoolbooks continue to incite the perpetration of war crimes against Jews. more

The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Is a Warning Sign for Israel

Israel would be unwise to rush into a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the urging of the “moderate Sunni axis” with which it currently shares common cause against Iran. The Kurdish experience, as well as the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, prove that Israel cannot depend on fair-weather allies to protect its own security.more

The Fast-Changing Geopolitics of the Planet

November 21, 2017,

Just as the replacement of the steamship by container shipping slashed the cost of moving goods across borders, so the information and technology revolution has facilitated the moving of ideas around the globe, while advances in telerobotics will eventually cause geographical barriers to disintegrate. This will create a powerful force that will affect not only the behavior of humans but that of entire states. What we are witnessing now is nothing short of the coming of a new world order.more

With Iran on Its Doorstep, Israel Quietly Readies Game-Changing Air Power

November 21, 2017,

Israeli air power now has capabilities beyond any yet seen in military history. Its aerial strike capabilities are likely to prove decisive to the outcome of any military action taken against Iran in Syria.more

Trump, One Year After the Election: Achievements and Failures

November 20, 2017,

No president, particularly one lacking experience in politics, can achieve his goals without the cooperation of government authorities, the media, and the public. Thus far, Trump has not demonstrated the ability to learn lessons that will bring him to this place, and his public approval ratings have accordingly plummeted. Should he sustain his erratic conduct, Republicans may well distance themselves from his policies in next year’s midterm congressional elections. This will make it even harder for him to pass laws, budgets, and programs.more

Qatar: A Model of Social Change?

November 20, 2017,

The Gulf region’s onerous kafala or labor sponsorship system has been denounced as a form of modern slavery. Potential Qatari moves to become the first Gulf state to effectively abolish kafala could produce a rare World Cup that leaves a true legacy of social and economic change.more

Israeli Attitudes Towards Egypt 40 Years After Sadat’s Visit

November 19, 2017,

Forty years after Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, most Israelis view the attendant Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty as conducive to Israel’s national security – yet they believe there are currently no leaders of Sadat’s and Menachem Begin’s stature on either side of the divide who are capable of effecting a similarly momentous breakthrough toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.more

Sadat and Begin – the Peacemakers

November 19, 2017,

It is widely assumed that Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat made peace despite their deep personal incompatibilities. But in fact, there were significant parallels in the lives of both men, and these may have facilitated their coming to an agreement. The similarities between them—their early careers in “underground” movements, their stints in prison, their struggles against the British and hatred of the Soviet Union, their years on the margins of power, and their clearly defined definitions of homeland—may have eased their final compromise.more

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New at BESA Center

Arabs and Turks Welcomed the Balfour Declaration

November 8, 2017

It was not the Balfour Declaration that paved the road to the “Nakba” but its rejection by the extremist Palestinian Arab leadership headed by the Jerusalem Mufti Hajj Amin Husseini – against the wishes of ordinary Palestinian Arabs who would rather coexist with their Jewish neighbors and take advantage of opportunities created by the evolving Jewish national enterprise. Had this leadership not ignored the wishes of its subjects, and the will of the international community for that matter, there would have been no Nakba.

Greece, Israel, and China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative

October 31, 2017

China’s “Belt and Road” initiative signals the continuation and expansion of a pre-existing incremental policy that aims to strengthen China’s economic and geopolitical roles, though Beijing’s long-term approach remains unclear. The initiative does not immediately bring Greece and Israel closer. But it gives the two countries an opportunity to discuss China’s new role in the Mediterranean and to maximize bilateral relationships with Beijing without challenging their pro-West orientation.

In Memoriam: Irwin Hochberg

October 15, 2017

The BESA Center for Strategic Studies was saddened to learn of the passing of Irwin Hochberg, a longtime friend of the Center and a tireless supporter of the State of Israel.

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah

August 31, 2017

In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah and its Iranian patron, with the assistance of the Bashar Assad regime, are filling Lebanon with surface-to-surface projectiles, and aiming them at population centers and strategic sites in Israel. To forestall this threat, the Israeli defense establishment has, according to media reports, been waging a low-profile military and intelligence campaign, dubbed “The War Between Wars,” which monitors and occasionally disrupts the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

Foreign Investment in Israel’s Strategic Industries

July 27, 2017

The changing map of foreign investment in Israel demands a new balance between market access and investment review. The Israeli government has not yet communicated to the global investment community its vision for foreign investment in Israel, especially in the banking, insurance, commodities and defense markets. This vision is crucial so that multinational companies can make informed investment decisions. Current ambiguities in this regard leads to policy inconsistency, resulting in the fact that many potential foreign buyers avoid penetrating the Israeli market altogether.

The BESA Center Bulletin, July 2017

July 1, 2017

BESA Center associates participated in numerous public forums and international media discussions surrounding the fiftieth anniversary in June of the Six Day War. They also penned a dozen critical examinations of the war and its legacy. They see the jubilee as an opportunity for strategic retrospection and truth-telling, not hand-wringing and self-flagellation.

Washington and Moscow: Confrontation or Cooperation?

Behind the ongoing media frenzy, America seems deeply divided over whether to pursue a hard line with Russia or to cooperate with it. With Donald Trump favoring the latter course, Moscow “voted” for him in the 2016 elections. But the Kremlin’s cybernetic interference in the election has led to ongoing Russo-gate and efforts by President Trump’s foes to paint him as a Manchurian candidate.

Rethinking the Six-Day War

It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Israel’s Inelegant Options in Judea and Samaria: Withdrawal, Annexation, and Conflict Management

In advance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror examines the two basic approaches to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the creation of a bi-national state (in practice).

Recent Conferences

Australia-Israel Dialogue

November 1, 2017

On November 1, 2017, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Bar-Ilan Univeristy co-hosted the “Be’er Sheva Dialogue” at the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel. The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, was in attendance.

Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean

February 21, 2017

On February 21, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and B’nai B’rith International jointly held an international conference on Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. The event, which took place at the Begin-Sadat Center, involved the participation of experts from Greece, Russia, Britain, Turkey, Albania, the US, and Israel.