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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Decentralization: The Key to Indo-Israeli Ties

No. 506
| June 23, 2017

By making the most of India’s federal structure, Israel has established a strong presence in various states in India and thereby moved bilateral relations from elite political discourse to the economic needs of India’s rural population.

The EastMed Pipeline Could Be a Giant Step Towards Enhancing Regional Security

No. 505
| June 22, 2017

The EastMed pipeline, a proposed means of transporting gas from the eastern Mediterranean to new markets, would be expensive and difficult – but it is feasible. Easier and less expensive solutions are also being considered, but the security element works in EastMed’s favor. EastMed would allow Cyprus, Greece, and Israel to collaborate while developing their roles as hubs of stability in a turbulent neighborhood. The EU and the US would likely see improvement in Western energy dependence. And Israel would have the opportunity to improve its relationship with the EU, not only by participating in a project of European interest but also by finding new clients for its own gas in the European market.

General John Allen’s Plan Is Dangerous

No. 504

The Trump White House is currently reexamining the Allen Plan, an Obama-era proposal that calls for a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with no IDF presence whatsoever. This plan is dangerous. If it is implemented, Israel will have to rely on foreign forces for its security, a situation that has not worked in the past. More than that, it is antithetical to the Israeli ethos of self-defense and self-preservation in the Jewish homeland.

Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis Is Fake News

No. 503
| June 20, 2017

One of the most widespread myths about Gaza is that it is wallowing in poverty and forever on the verge of a humanitarian crisis as a result of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade. But indicators such as life expectancy, growth in imports, and electricity demand suggest that the Gazan standard of living is growing, not declining. If a genuine humanitarian crisis were to loom, the solution would be simple: disarm Hamas and divert its considerable expenditures on terrorism to the improvement of the welfare of Gaza’s inhabitants.

Hamas: Striking the Right Balance

No. 502

Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, is under pressure from three sides: less electricity, lower salaries, and reduced economic aid. It might be tempting for Israel to take advantage of these pressures to compel Hamas to rein in its military expenditures – but the less Hamas feels it has to lose, the more combustible Gaza becomes.

Gaza in the Dark Is Not So Terrible

No. 501
| June 18, 2017

Hamas wants Israel to supply it with electricity “or else”, but there is no reason why Israel should submit to Hamas extortion. It is not Israel’s obligation to satisfy the needs of a population that continues, through its ongoing support of Hamas, to pursue Israel’s destruction.

The Emerging Trump Doctrine of Strategic Savvy

No. 500

“America will not lead from behind. America First does not mean America alone. It is a commitment to protecting and advancing our vital interests…” So wrote President Donald Trump’s NSA, General H.R. McMaster, with Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, in the Wall Street Journal. What follows is a discussion of US leaders’ failed strategies in several wars, Trump’s team of generals, and the emerging Trump doctrine, which is here termed “strategic savvy”.

Turkey’s Failed Grand Design for the Middle East

No. 499
| June 16, 2017

The siege of Qatar is sending messages on many wavelengths, some intended for Turkey. Sadly, Erdoğan is too ideologically blind to see that Turkey is standing on the wrong corner at the wrong moment. Doha may not be the same place after the Gulf Arabs find a way out of their crisis. A less Turkey-friendly Qatar may well emerge.

When Palestinians are Hopeless, Terror Declines; When Hopeful, Terrorism Increases

No. 498
| June 15, 2017

It is a widespread belief that Palestinian hopelessness feeds terrorism and the prospects for peace decrease it. This has always been false. In fact, the opposite is true: when Palestinians feel hopeless, Palestinian terrorism declines; when they are hopeful of gaining the upper hand, Palestinian terrorism increases. An Israeli iron fist is necessary to save both Israeli and Palestinian lives.

The Qatar Crisis: Signs of Weakness

No. 497

The decision by some Persian Gulf and Arab nations to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar is indicative of the deep crisis brewing in the region over the lack of real Sunni leadership. This situation could represent an opportunity for Israel if it treads lightly.