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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Gaza: Risks and Opportunities

No. 38
| February 13, 2008

The breach by Hamas of the Egyptian-Gaza border has strengthened Hamas’ standing in Gaza and increased the current security challenges to Israel, as terrorists and arms cross the porous border and rockets continue to fall on Israeli cities near Gaza. Egypt is forced to play a role in the new situation, which could be the catalyst for Arab states to take responsibility over the Palestinian issue.

How Stable Is Pakistan?

No. 37
| February 4, 2008

Pakistan’s future is exceedingly difficult to predict; the state may fail or fragment. Questions abound: the uncertain ability of President Musharraf to maintain his power, the unpredictability of the election
cycle, the untested judgment of the new Army Chief of Staff, the shift of global jihadi volunteers from Iraq to the northwest border sanctuaries of Pakistan, and the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Faced with few other options, the US is likely to continue to support the Pakistani Army and to hope that Musharraf can somehow engineer a
soft landing.

The Mideast Axis of Destabilization

No. 36
| December 26, 2007

The Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas alliance has acted during the last 15 years as an “axis of destabilization” in the Middle East, achieving major strategic victories at the expense of moderate Arab states, and US,
European, and Israeli interests.

US Kosovo Policy Is Bad for Israel

No. 35
and | November 6, 2007

The creation a new state in Kosovo awards part of a nation’s territory to a violent ethno-religious minority; futilely hopes to curry favor with the Islamic world through appeasement; gives a fresh impetus to the ongoing growth of Islamic influence in Europe; and denies the fact that the state’s leaders are tainted by terrorism, criminality, and links with global jihad. Most importantly, it betrays a post-modern contempt for claims based on the historical rights of a land to a nation. American support for the independence of Kosovo is thus detrimental to Israeli interests.

The Threat of Al-Qaeda and Its Allies in Lebanon

No. 34
| September 19, 2007

Clashes between the Lebanese army and the al Qaeda-affiliated Fatah al Islam organization in north Lebanon, and similar attacks against UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon, reflect the challenges of radical jihadi Sunni Islam on the stability of the country and the region. The Lebanese government’s ability to face these challenges appears limited, with the degree of its success largely dependent on international support and the consent of local power brokers such as Hizballah and the Palestinians.

The False “Crisis” in Military Recruitment: An IDF Red Herring

No. 33
| July 23, 2007

According to figures released by the IDF, 25% of Israeli male youth are shirking military duty. However, the statistics simply do not support this: Israeli enlistment remains at extraordinarily high levels. Why then the hysteria? The IDF is cynically seeking to legitimize its budget demands
by creating the aura of crisis.

Bush Cannot Succeed in the Holy Land

No. 32
| July 23, 2007

Bush’s new plan for Middle East peace is inadequate and rests on several faulty assumptions, including the beliefs that outside influences can change Palestinian society, Abu Mazen is the leader to bring about change, and the Palestinians will be “good” neighbors towards Israel. However, the realities of Palestinian society reflect a different picture. Israel’s best bet is to wait for a better opportunity to attain stability.

Strategic Folly and Shame: Personal Reflections on a Visit to Beleaguered Sderot

No. 30
| June 24, 2007

Close to six months of Israeli “restraint” in the face of Hamas rocket attacks is both strategic folly of the highest order and a deep source of shame. Folly – because Israel has allowed a city of twenty-four thousand people to wither away and empty out under enemy fire. Shame – because Israel has left the forlorn people of Sderot, the most destitute, downtrodden, and drained citizens of Israel in normal times, to take the hit.

The French Presidential Elections of May 2007: Implications for French-Israeli Relations

No. 29
| May 14, 2007

The election this week of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France is unlikely to lead to a substantial shift in French policy towards Israel, although the tone of French-Israeli relations can be expected to improve. Even the most favorable French administration will continue to take into account France’s traditional ties with the Arab world, France’s significant Muslim population, and public opinion in France – which is not at all favorable to Israel. It is equally possible that tightened French-US coordination regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may lead to enhanced diplomatic pressure on Israel. However, in spite of political disagreements, the existing dialogue and gradual process of improving bilateral relations will most likely prevail.

The Iran-Hamas Alliance: Threat and Folly

No. 28
| May 1, 2007

Since the US invasion of Iraq, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran has taken on the behavior of a regional hegemon. Indeed, Ahmadinejad speaks and acts as if he is the new leader of the Third World. Iran is setting itself up as the leader of a Mideast “axis of evil” with radical proxies and allies. An important aspect of the new Iranian reach is Tehran’s growing alliance with Hamas, which dates back to January 2006. Under Ahmadinejad, Iran has become an active revisionist state guided by radical religious conviction, while Hamas has captured almost complete control of the PA.