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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Israel’s Operation Against Hamas in Gaza: The Need for Realistic Goals

No. 53
| January 1, 2009

Israel’s Operation Cast Lead goals should be modest: minimizing the
damage that Hamas rockets can inflict on Israel. While a Hamastan in Gaza is not the ideal neighbor for Israel, there are several advantages to continuous Hamas rule, including the fact that it makes the “two-state solution” paradigm irrelevant.

US Foreign Policy after the Elections: Pragmatism, But in What Direction?

No. 52
| December 23, 2008

Obama’s foreign policy appointments suggest pragmatism and caution, not dogmatism and adventure. But will the pragmatists lead him astray? Had it been up to so-called pragmatists, Saddam would still be in Kuwait, Germany might still be divided, and the Iraq surge would not have occurred.

Rabin and the Oslo Process Revisited

No. 51
| November 10, 2008

While venerated by the Left as a hero of peace, the cautious Yitzhak Rabin was first and foremost a military man, for whom peace agreements were primarily a means to buttress security. He believed that transition to real peace would take decades, and would have ditched the Oslo process by now.

President Obama and the Middle East Challenge

No. 50
| November 6, 2008

Barack Obama has enunciated a clear program for Middle East policy based on multilateralism and negotiations to deal with Iran, Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. In reality he will have to make tough choices when other countries reject the US approach, especially with regard to Iran.

Invading Georgia: The Opening Shot in a Grand Russian Strategy to Challenge the West Through the Domination of the Energy Market

No. 49
| September 16, 2008

Moscow seeks to intimidate energy producing countries once part of the Soviet Union, and to develop a grand anti-American energy coalition that spans from Iran to Venezuela. This explains Moscow’s military intervention in Georgia, and may require muscular Western counter-action.

Sarkozy in Syria: Discrepancies in French Mideast Policy

No. 48
| September 10, 2008

Turbo-charged Sarkozian diplomacy has led France to seek to upgrade its status in the international arena and enhance its influence and presence in the Middle East. Deep skepticism is in order, especially with regard to the utility of Sarkozy’s courtship of Syria.

The Declinists Are Wrong Again

No. 47
| July 30, 2008

American global power and diplomatic predominance will likely persevere. Neither the rise of important regional powers, nor competition in a globalized world economy, nor “imperial overstretch,” nor American domestic-economic weakness will have the negative transformative effects that “new declinists” postulate.

Sarkozy’s Presidency

No. 46
| June 22, 2008

Has Sarkozy’s presidency ushered in a new era in Franco-Israeli relations? Despite the tightening of bilateral and strategic relations,
and the improvement of both ambiance and tone in the relationship, substantial political disagreements – regarding the PA, Syria, Lebanon and more – remain between Sarkozy’s France and Israel.

The Failure of the Oslo Process: Inherently Flawed or Flawed Implementation?

No. 45
| June 16, 2008

Liberals argued that the Oslo process collapsed because it was not implemented properly; while Realists said that the process was flawed from the outset. Israel and the Palestinians were ripe for negotiations but not for conflict resolution because the parties remained too far apart on core issues. Attempts at integration actually made matters worse by increasing friction. The key to conflict management is not integration but physical and political separation.

UNRWA: Barrier to Peace

No. 44
| May 27, 2008

UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee issue, serving as a major obstacle toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. UNRWA’s definition of refugees includes not only the refugees themselves, but also their descendants. It also employs teachers affiliated with Hamas and allows the dissemination of Hamas messages in its schools. UNRWA should be dissolved, with its services transferred to more appropriate welfare organizations.