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 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.

The Perils and Promise of Pax Americana in the Muslim Middle East

No. 8
| July 26, 2005

The Muslim Middle East has two basic problems with the US in the role of democratic reformer: what America is, and what America is not. The perils and promise of America’s difficult mission civilisatrice, and the Bush Administration’s faith-based approach to exporting freedom, may ultimately help America win friends and influence people in the Middle East.

Europe, America, and Israel: The Need to Promote Democracy and Freedom

No. 7
| June 15, 2005

It is imperative that America lead a drive to promote democracy and freedom around the world. The successful implementation of these values can be realized even in hostile places such as Iraq, Iran, and the Palestinian Territories.

French Perceptions of the Middle East

No. 6
| May 31, 2005

French-Israeli relations have significantly deteriorated since September 2000. However, it seems that some recent developments may change this pattern. France’s main Middle Eastern perceptions, their application to the Iraqi and the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and the contradictions between the perceptions and their application all affect the situation.