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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What’s On a Muslim Refugee’s Mind?

No. 583
| September 10, 2017

Almost all the “poor” illegal migrants on the Greek islands want to go to Germany, where they have heard from friends and relatives that they will be the best paid for being refugees. The cliché “the-poor-souls-are-fleeing-war-in-their-native-country” is becoming less and less convincing by the day. True, most Syrians fled to Turkey after the start of civil war in their country. But is flight from war their motivation as they proceed onwards to Greece, Serbia, Hungary, and Austria?

A Different Perspective on the Temple Mount Crisis

No. 582
| September 8, 2017

Moderate leaders warn that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may turn from a national conflict into a religious one. Right-wing leaders claim it has been a religious conflict from the start. Both approaches have been applied to the Temple Mount crisis, and both are affected by a totalist perception of the understanding of the religious imperative.

Tokyo’s North Korean Dilemma

No. 581
| September 7, 2017

On August 29, 2017, North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 missile over Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean – a show of force that once again illustrated Japan’s vulnerability to North Korea’s ballistic missiles. Tokyo should reconsider its newly conciliatory method of coping with the threat from Pyongyang. It will not be able to deter North Korea alone, and may have no choice but to be more active militarily.

Is It Zero Hour? Pyongyang’s Nuclear Power Is Developing at a Dizzying Pace

No. 580
| September 6, 2017

Tensions between the US and North Korea, which greatly increased following North Korea’s two ICBM launches on July 4 and July 28, are now near the boiling point. North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, which it conducted on September 3, seemed to indicate that it has reached an advanced capability to develop nuclear weapons. Despite Kim’s provocations and concern that Pyongyang’s military power will reach a point of no return, one cannot confidently predict that President Trump will risk a ground offensive. Nor, however, does it appear that the war of words is having any effect on Kim. Trump may have to order an operation to destroy North Korean strategic targets from the air.

The North Korean Threat: Rationality, Intentionality, and Nuclear War

No. 579
| September 5, 2017

To deal with the growing nuclear threat from North Korea, US policy will need to be drawn from theoretical decision models. Four such models should be constructed along the axes of rationality and intentionality. With these models in hand, President Trump and his senior strategists would be better prepared to assess and counter the threats posed by Kim Jong-un to the US and its allies. In the latter regard, the North Korean leader maintains ties to some of Israel’s core enemies in the Middle East, including Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran.

Israel Is Real

No. 578
| September 4, 2017

The democratic Jewish state of Israel defies revisionist historicism. It looks Muslim hate in the eye and although stirred, remains unshaken: Israel is here to stay.

Palestinian Settler-Colonialism

No. 577
| September 3, 2017

The concept of “settler colonialism” has been applied with almost unique vehemence against Israel. But the fact that Jews are the indigenous population of the Southern Levant can be proved with ease. In contrast, historical and genealogical evidence shows Palestinians descend primarily from three primary groups: Muslim invaders, Arab immigrants, and local converts to Islam. The Muslim conquest of Byzantine Palestine in the 7th century CE is a textbook example of settler-colonialism, as is subsequent immigration, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries under the Ottoman and British Empires. The application of the concept to Jews and Zionism by Palestinians is both ironic and unhelpful.

Why Are Relations Tightening Between China and Turkey?

No. 576
| September 1, 2017

The volume of trade between China and Turkey grew significantly in the first decade of this century. The countries’ relationship is now strengthening further, reflecting Turkey’s interest in participating in the BRI and the Chinese leadership’s struggles with its Uyghur minority. Judging from recent declarations, it appears the relationship will hold up, as neither side has viable alternatives to this alliance.

The Hezbollah-Fath al-Sham Ceasefire: A New Regional Equilibrium?

No. 575
| August 31, 2017

According to a recent Lebanese press report, a ceasefire agreement has been signed between Hezbollah and the insurgent group Fath al-Sham. This pivotal agreement may serve as an opportunity for both sides to widen the ceasefire into a full agreement that will end the Syrian civil war, which would enable Hezbollah to redirect its efforts towards Israel. Israel must address these developments and implement a new strategy to meet the new era.

Assessing the North Korean Crisis

No. 574
| August 30, 2017

When mischief transfigures into menace, and plausible deniability gets in the way of the immediate concerted action necessary to punish state criminality in a decisive and conclusive manner, strategic patience becomes inversely proportional to strategic purpose. The North Korean crisis is a testament to the lamentable current state of a dysfunctional international system in need of a monitored ethical code, of decency and candor, of sincerity, humanity, wisdom and justice, at every echelon. It is time for diplomats and state leaders to heed the urgency.