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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The Har Adar Attack: A Reminder of the Fragility of Israel’s Security Landscape

No. 622
| October 21, 2017

The recent terror attack that killed three Israelis in Har Adar is a reminder of the fragile security situation across Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Most of the time, the situation looks calm. But hidden from view is the titanic struggle raging 24 hours a day between Israel’s security forces and Palestinian terrorists. The latter work relentlessly to try and commit atrocities. In July and August alone, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency and the IDF thwarted more than 70 terror cells in the territories that were planning and trying to execute attacks. 

Between the Iranian Threat and the Palestinian State Threat

No. 621

In his recent visit to Washington and speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused his diplomatic efforts on the Iranian threat. Meanwhile, as President Trump looks for a breakthrough on the Palestinian issue, a linkage – tacitly if not explicitly expressed – has again been created between the White House’s support for Israel’s demands in the Iranian-Syrian arena and what is required of Israel in the Palestinian arena. This linkage is dangerous for Israel.

The Norwegian Elections, Israel, and the Jews

No. 620
| October 19, 2017

Developments in Norway are rarely analyzed abroad – not even in Israel, despite the fact that Norway was the most problematic country in Europe for Israel from 2005-13. Under governments led by Labor Party leader Jens Stoltenberg, anti-Israel attitudes flourished. There were also extreme expressions of anti-Semitism, including shots fired by a Muslim at Oslo’s only synagogue. In 2012, the well-known Norwegian author Hanne Nabintu Herland called Norway the “most anti-Semitic country.” The recent surprise victory of Prime Minister Erna Solberg, the Conservative leader, could alter this dynamic for the better.

Russia’s Air Defenses in Syria: More Politics than Punch

No. 618
| October 18, 2017

As a result of Moscow’s geopolitical considerations in Syria, chief among them the desire to avoid direct confrontation with the US and Israel, Russia’s air defenses in the region have assumed the tasks of political intimidation and reassurance. The Kremlin has issued warnings to both Israel and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition not to strike forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Russia is unlikely to attempt to engage Israeli or coalition aerial assets unless its own forces are attacked or the assets approach Russian military installations too closely. Even then, intercepting them will be no easy task. While Russia’s modern air defenses in Syria are formidable, they are not “game-changers.”

Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad

No. 617
| October 17, 2017

The US was in the nation-building business for years, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. But on August 21, 2017, US President Donald Trump stated unequivocally, “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.” As he constructs policies towards Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan, as well as towards the rogue, nuclear-focused regimes in Iran and North Korea, Trump is drawing on the lessons of past follies.

The Militia Option in Syria

No. 616

The war in Syria has focused attention on the role of the militia forces. Although we may see the phenomenon as entirely negative, it also has positive aspects and reflects a genuine need that affects our lives as well.

Israel Faces a Growing Enemy Drone Threat

No. 615
| October 15, 2017

A quadcopter from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel earlier this month, and the IDF released a short message saying a unit had arrived to take it away for checks. This seemingly mundane incident is, in fact, indicative of a growing trend: the use of drones by Israel’s enemies. 

The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally

No. 614
| October 14, 2017

In Syria, where chaos reigns and there are no moderates among the Sunni Arab opposition, the “enemy of my enemy” principle may apply – particularly in view of Assad’s increasing dominance, the growing Iranian influence on Israel’s borders, and Turkey’s close ties with Hamas and warming relations with Tehran. It is therefore in Israel’s interest to act quickly to support the nascent Kurdish political region in Syria.

Shaping Eurasia’s Future: Unintended Consequences of Abrogating Iran’s Nuclear Deal

No. 613
| October 13, 2017

US President Donald J. Trump’s targeting of the two-year-old agreement curtailing Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons could not only spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but also tilt European-Chinese competition for domination of Eurasia’s future energy infrastructure in China’s favor.

The IDF’s Gaza Wall Might Change Hamas Strategy

No. 612
| October 12, 2017

Time may be running out for one of Hamas’s main weapons against Israel: its cross-border terror tunnels. As Hamas loses its potency against Israel in Gaza, it is turning its attention to fanning the flames of terrorism in the West Bank.