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A Turkish-EU Opera Buffa

August 17, 2017,

Turkey says it wants to join the EU, but has no intention of complying with membership rules. The EU says it wants Turkey to join, but is fully aware that it does not qualify. Turkey pushes forward in the hope that the EU might someday change its rules; the EU pushes forward in the hope that Turkey might someday qualify. Neither will happen.more

Russia Feels American Pressure

August 16, 2017,

Russian-US relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.  President Donald Trump has signed a new package of anti-Russian sanctions into law and increased the US military presence across former Soviet territory and eastern Europe. He also sent VP Mike Pence on a tour of Estonia, Montenegro, and Georgia – a trip viewed by Moscow as western encroachment on an area it considers a buffer zone. This standoff does not mean the two superpowers will not be able to find common ground in other areas, but the potential for cooperation is limited. Former Soviet territory will likely remain a major confrontation line between the US and Russia.more

Russiagate: Another Watergate?

August 15, 2017,

Just as occurred during the Watergate crisis of 1973-74, America – the world’s indispensable power – is again facing a constitutional crisis, with a paralyzed president writhing beneath the Damoclean sword of Russiagate.  New evidence sheds fresh light on the origins and making of both “gates,” as does a closer exploration of the Nixon-Brezhnev and Trump-Putin bromances.more

The Potentially Existential Threat to Israel from “Palestine”

August 14, 2017,

"Palestine" could present a far greater threat to Israel than a third intifada or persistent terrorism. This threat, which would further exacerbate the area's correlation of forces, is potentially existential. Under certain circumstances, Palestinian statehood could meaningfully enlarge the prospects of both mega-terror attacks and regional nuclear war.more

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

August 13, 2017,

On July 18, 2017, PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the media, the meeting was productive. “Beijing will create a dialogue mechanism between Israel and the Palestinians, with China being the mediator, and later this year China will hold a peace conference and try to resolve the conflict”, according to Xi. This sounds good, but Beijing has more pressing priorities. It is not interested in forging deals with little chance of success.more

It Is Time for Abbas to Take Positive Action

August 10, 2017,

Is Mahmoud Abbas, like Yasser Arafat before him, stalling the peace process out of fear that no agreement would be sufficiently maximizing? By now he should have learned that the best deals are those signed with confidence, in mutual trust and good will; and that he stands to gain a great deal through constructive action rather than destructive antics. Those who lead know that decisive journeys start with a risky first step. more

Don’t Dismantle UNRWA; Reform Its Policies

August 9, 2017,

The desire of Prime Minister Netanyahu to dismantle UNRWA, while understandable in light of the agency’s egregious history of collusion with Hamas, is not a practical proposition. Israel can, however, demand that funding to UNRWA be conditioned on the agency’s reform in multiple areas.more

India-US Counterterrorism Cooperation: The Way Forward

August 8, 2017,

Narendra Modi’s visit to the Trump White House in June was his fifth visit to the US since becoming PM of India in 2014, but his first encounter with an American president who does not seem to share his immediate predecessors’ positive view of India. Since Trump’s election on an “America First” platform, there has been apprehension in New Delhi that it might fall off Washington’s radar.more

North Korean Brinksmanship on Trump’s Nuclear “Red Line”

Pyongyang uses the buzz that accompanies its ballistic missile and nuclear tests, as well as the obscurity that conceals the extent of its infrastructure for weapons grade fissile materials production and nuclear weaponization, as tools with which to challenge Washington. Trump is not Obama, however. Kim Jong-un will need to tread carefully to avoid provoking an American preemptive strike.more

Recurring Patterns: The Temple Mount Riots

August 6, 2017,

Major Palestinian riots erupted in response to the placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount, with the Palestinian inciters falsely claiming that the al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger. This form of action might serve as a model for future riots even if Israel signs a peace agreement with the Palestinians. As Israel’s concessions in such an agreement would be irreversible, the threat of easy-to-incite riots makes the prospects for peace even more remote.more

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New at BESA Center

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).

Professor Efraim Karsh Becomes Director of the BESA Center

November 6, 2016

The Executive Council of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Efraim Karsh as the new center director. He succeeds Professor Efraim Inbar, who concludes a 25-year tenure as the center’s founding director.

The BESA Center Bulletin, November 2016

October 31, 2016

A summary of the center’s activities in 2016, including seven conferences, eight guest lectures, 60 new publications, and more. Prof. Efraim Karsh, the new director of the center, takes his piercing pen to the Oslo peace process – “one of the worst-ever calamities to have hit Israelis and Palestinians.”

Australia and Israel Should Develop Closer Ties in Defense and Foreign Affairs

October 31, 2016

A study by APSI and BESA Center experts considers common strategic interests and suggests security cooperation between Canberra and Jerusalem.

Israeli Palestinian Policy – Whereto?

October 11, 2016

Yaakov Amidror, Hillel Frisch, Gershon Hacohen, Efraim Inbar, Eran Lerman and Max Singer discuss Israel’s policies on the Palestinian issue, in a post-Obama and post-Abbas era.

In Memoriam: Muzi Wertheim

October 7, 2016

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies mourns the passing in August of Mr. Muzi Wertheim, one of the titans of modern Israeli industry and a founder of the Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He was 86.

Recent Conferences

The Trump Upheaval

December 4, 2016

Shortly after the US presidential election in November, experts met the BESA Center to analyze the reasons for, and international implications of, Donald Trump’s triumph, and to dissect the “Yom Kippur” of the liberal elite and media.

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.