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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Confronting the New Nasser in Iran

No. 18
| June 19, 2006

The President of Iran presents more than a nuclear threat to the world; his defiance of the international community is galvanizing Muslims throughout the world behind a radical vision of puritanical Islam that rejects the liberal democratic model. In responding to this new Nasser, the international community might recall the original’s ability to turn military defeat into political victory.

Centrism in Israeli Politics and the Olmert Government

No. 17
| June 7, 2006

Israeli society is often conceived of as deeply divided, characterized by profound chasms separating many sectors of society. The victory of the centrist Kadima Party in the 2006 Israeli elections suggests that Israel is far less divided than presumed. Kadima’’s victory indicates the existence of a strong political center in Israel. The success of Israel’’s new government may depend on the prime minister’s comprehension of this fact and his ability to build upon it.

Defining a New International System in a World Threatened by Jihad: The Danger of a Transatlantic Divide

No. 16
| May 16, 2006

The great transatlantic debate over Iraq was rooted in deep disagreement over the nature of world order, in different visions of the world as perceived by Europe and America. Europe is reluctant to face the threat posed to the survival of Western civilization by jihadism or rogue states with nuclear ambitions, and has come to doubt the legitimacy of the use of US power and American global leadership.

The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography

No. 15

Population statistics and predictions of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) are unreliable; a BESA study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza stood at 2.5 million, not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians.Further demographic research indicates that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from the West Bank and Gaza have been exaggerated.

Iran and the West: Who Needs Whom? A Look at the Consequences of Ahmadinejad’’s Economic and Foreign Policies

No. 14
| March 7, 2006

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly asserted that the West needs Iran more than Iran needs the West. While Iran has the economic influence to inflict significant damage on the world economy, Ahmadinejad’’s flippant remarks have little basis in reality and his policies are likely to incur significant damage to his country.

The Hamas Takeover Serves Israel’s Interests

No. 13
| January 29, 2006

The decisive victory by Hamas in this week’s Palestinian elections, paradoxically, serves Israel’s interests. Hamas’’ win provides Israel and the international community with an opportunity to fashion a tough line against Palestinian Islamic terrorism and to bring the aid-dependent PA into line. Moreover, Hamas is bound to fail in running the PA, leaving open the possibility in the long term for the emergence of a more mature Palestinian leadership.

The Imperative to Use Force Against Iranian Nuclearization

No. 12
| December 15, 2005

A nuclear Iran constitutes a serious threat, not only to the Middle East, but also to the entire world. Diplomatic efforts have failed to halt Iran’’s nuclear program. As the Iranian acquisition of a military nuclear ability nears, the threat of using force, and even the actual use of force, seems to be the only viable preventive measure.

British Policy Towards the Middle East

No. 11
| November 7, 2005

In the wake of its active involvement in the 2003 Iraq war, Britain’’s traditional policy of acting as a ‘bridge’ between the US and the EU in relation to Middle Eastern strategic affairs has been severely criticized by those who would like to see Britain adopting a more wholehearted European orientation. Prime Minister Blair’’s grandiose vision of ’bridging’ as securing Britain’’s position as a pivotal power at the crux of alliances and international politics is completely unrealistic.

Religious Zionism Revisits the State of Israel

No. 10
| October 6, 2005

The Religious Zionist community in Israel has been significantly affected by Israel’’s disengagement from Gaza, with some expressing a feeling of betrayal by the government. There are three alternative political approaches: secularization, fundamentalism, and an alternative political approach calling for the establishment of a new ruling Israeli elite.

Egypt and Its Involvement in the Disengagement Process: Strategic, Regional, and International Aspects

No. 9
| September 1, 2005

The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel is stronger than is sometimes thought. In the current global reality – a unipolar world under American hegemony – no dramatic changes are expected to take place in the region in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the mutual interests of Israel and Egypt, – together with the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip, further strengthen the relations between the two countries.