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A Nuclear Free Middle East?

A Nuclear Free Middle East?
Siddharth Ramana  |  Nuclear Proliferation

As the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) progresses this month, an initiative which was raised in the 1995 RevCon is starting to receive increasing voices of support- A nuclear free Middle East. It is interesting to note that while the present RevCon is clouded by the blatant violations to the NPT by one of its signatories- Iran, the focus of attention has been shifted to a country which has not signed the treaty-Israel. Arab countries including Egypt and Algeria have raised the specter of the Israeli nuclear program as being detrimental to the prospects of peace, while relegating to the background the Iranian nuclear program. The United States, a major strategic ally of Israel too has joined the chorus calling for Israel to join the NPT, much to the chagrin of Israel supporters within the country. The Security Council has further compounded to the voices supporting the resolution of a nuclear free Middle East. Could Israel declaring its nuclear arsenal and signing the NPT really contribute to the peace in the region? The arguments towards this end are as tenuous as the belief that the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict would contribute to an immediate end to the purported legitimacy derived by Islamic groups engaging in terrorist activity against Israel’s allies. A better understanding of the nuclear posture in the Middle East would illustrate the differences of the suspected Israeli and Iranian nuclear programs. More...
Is Israel Facing War with Hizbullah and Syria?

Is Israel Facing War with Hizbullah and Syria?
David Schenker  |  Syria

Concerns about Israeli hostilities with Hizbullah are nothing new, but based on recent pronouncements from Syria, if the situation degenerates, fighting could take on a regional dimension not seen since 1973. On February 26, Syrian President Bashar Assad hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus. Afterward, Hizbullah's online magazine Al Intiqad suggested that war with Israel was on the horizon. Raising tensions further are reports that Syria has provided Hizbullah with the advanced, Russian-made, shoulder-fired, Igla-S anti-aircraft missile, which could inhibit Israeli air operations over Lebanon in a future conflict. The transfer of this equipment had previously been defined by Israeli officials as a "red line." Damascus' support for "resistance" was on full display at the Arab Summit in Libya in late March 2010, where Assad urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to abandon U.S.-supported negotiations and "take up arms against Israel." After years of diplomatic isolation, Damascus has finally broken the code to Europe, and appears to be on the verge of doing so with the Obama administration as well. Currently, Syria appears to be in a position where it can cultivate its ties with the West without sacrificing its support for terrorism. More...
Facing Iran: Lessons Learned Since Iraq

Facing Iran: Lessons Learned Since Iraq's 1991 Missile Attack on Israel
Moshe Arens  |  Iran

The Iranians learned a great deal from the destruction of Iraq's Osirak reactor by the Israel Air Force in 1981. The Osirak reactor was the key element in the Iraqi nuclear program: a single target which, when it was destroyed, set that program back very substantially. The Iranians saw this and they dispersed their nuclear program. Much of it is deep underground. There is no single target which, if destroyed, would substantially set back the Iranian nuclear program. Some say that while the missiles Israel faces are relatively cheap weapons, we are launching a very expensive missile interceptor system against it, which does not seem very wise at first sight. However, the damage that might be caused by the incoming missile may far exceed the cost of the anti-missile system. Israel's missile interceptor system poses a dilemma to anybody who decides to launch missiles against Israel, especially a missile that has a nuclear warhead. The dilemma is that the missile may very well be intercepted and thus expose the launching of a nuclear missile, even if it didn't reach its target, which could bring about the response that could be expected for committing this deed. More...
The Palestinians

The Palestinians' Unilateral "Kosovo Strategy": Implications for the PA and Israel
Dan Diker  |  Palestinian Authority

Mahmoud Abbas' new precondition that the international community recognize the 1967 lines in the West Bank as the new Palestinian border bolsters the assessment that the Palestinians have largely abandoned a negotiated settlement and instead are actively pursuing a unilateral approach to statehood. Senior Palestinian officials note that Palestinian unilateralism is modeled after Kosovo's February 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. European and U.S. support for Kosovo's unilateral declaration has led the Palestinian leadership to determine that geopolitical conditions are ripe to seek international endorsement of its unilateral statehood bid, despite the fact that leading international jurists have suggested that the cases of Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority are historically and legally different. The Palestinians are legally bound to negotiate a bilateral solution with Israel. Unilateral Palestinian threats to declare statehood have been rebuffed thus far by the European powers and the United States. The Palestinian "Kosovo strategy" includes a campaign of delegitimization of Israel, seeking to isolate Israel as a pariah state, while driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The unilateral Palestinian bid for sovereignty will also likely turn the Palestinians into the leading petitioner against the State of Israel at the International Criminal Court. Although the PA is not a state and therefore should have no legal standing before the court, the petition it submitted to the court after the Gaza war was not rejected by the ICC. Finally, a unilateral Palestinian quest for the 1947 lines may well continue even if the 1967 lines are endorsed by the United Nations. The PLO's 1988 declaration of independence was based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognizes the 1947 partition plan for Palestine, not the 1967 lines, as the basis for the borders of Israel and an Arab state. More...

Israel's Foreign Policy in the Shadow of Iran and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Danny Ayalon  |  Peace Process

Israel must simultaneously pursue three interdependent tracks for advancing Israeli-Palestinian relations: capacity-building measures that foster the rule of law within the Palestinian Authority, regional economic cooperation, and meaningful political dialogue. Although conducting dialogue with the Palestinians is a matter of utmost importance for Israel, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's recent plan to unilaterally declare statehood after a two-year state-building process is unrealistic. The emergence of a future Palestinian state will only be a result of consensus and successful negotiations, not an artificial timeline. If we are to proceed with a viable diplomatic process with the Palestinians, it is critically important to curb malign Iranian influence in the region and its support of terror proxies like Hizbullah and Hamas. Challenging the Iranian bid for hegemony, however, is not the responsibility of Israel alone, but of the larger international community, which must make it clear to the regime led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that there is a steep price to pay for its continued violations of international norms and UN resolutions. More...
Has Hizbullah Changed? The 7th Hizbullah General Conference and Its Continued Ideology of Resistance

Has Hizbullah Changed? The 7th Hizbullah General Conference and Its Continued Ideology of Resistance
Shimon Shapira  |  Hizbollah

•Some Western analysts believe the political manifesto published in the wake of Hizbullah's 7th General Conference at the end of November 2009 represented a fundamental change in Hizbullah policy. Hizbullah's vigorous insistence that it retain an army of its own that does not heed the authority of the state but rather the representative of Iran's leader in Lebanon makes a mockery of the clauses in the political manifesto about Lebanon being the eternal homeland. Furthermore, by building a state-like system parallel to that of the Lebanese state, and one that relies on aid and funding from Iran and Syria, Hizbullah does not contribute to the strengthening of Lebanon. The decision of the Lebanese government to recognize the continued legitimate existence of Hizbullah's armed militia demonstrates less a case that Hizbullah underwent a process of "Lebanonization," but rather that the Lebanese state has undergone a process of "Hizbullazation." Hizbullah's alleged move toward pragmatism is based to a large extent on an Iranian decision to create a new atmosphere in Lebanon that will allow it to work unmolested. Iran is looking for strict silence in the Lebanese arena in order to enable Hizbullah to reconstruct its strategic capabilities (including long-range rockets and missiles) in Lebanon in order to make use of these capabilities at a time to be determined by Tehran. More...
Syria and Turkey: Walking Arm in Arm Down the Same Road?

Syria and Turkey: Walking Arm in Arm Down the Same Road?
David Schenker  |  Syria

The rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus is only the culmination of the increasingly problematic policies pursued by the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). Two factors in particular seem to have led to Turkey's shift away from Israel and toward Syria. First, Turkey no longer needed Israeli assistance to pressure the Syrian government to change its policy of providing safe-haven to the terrorist Kurdish Worker's Organization (PKK). Second, in the past seven years, once secular Turkish politics have undergone a profound Islamist transformation. At the same time, the dynamic between the Turkish military and the state's civilian leadership has changed. No longer does the military have the upper hand. Today, the Turkish military can do little to impact the policies of the Islamist AKP, which promote solidarity with Islamist, anti-Western regimes while dismissing secular, pro-Western Muslim governments. As Ankara's politics under the AKP have shifted and Turkey has become seemingly less committed to Europe, the state has seen its star rise in the Middle East. Syria's Assad regime likely sees its bourgeoning relations with Turkey as an opportunity to shuffle the existing architecture of regional alliances. More...
A Paradox of Peacemaking: How the Palestinian Authority

A Paradox of Peacemaking: How the Palestinian Authority's Unilateral Statehood Plan Undermines the Legal Foundations of Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy
Alan Baker  |  Peace Process

The only valid legal framework between the Israelis and the Palestinians remains the 1995 Interim Agreement, which represents the source of authority for the existence of the Palestinian governance and its component institutions. The Interim Agreement established that: "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations." Any unilateral action that undermines the existing Oslo interim framework could jeopardize the peace process and remove the basis for the existence of the Palestinian Authority. However, were a plan to be adapted and integrated within a resumed negotiating process, on the basis of the extensive infrastructure that already exists in the Oslo Accords, then this plan could serve as a constructive starting point for any new round of negotiations. More...
The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False Charge of Apartheid

The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False Charge of Apartheid
Aharon Ze'evi Farkash  |  Israel

If Israel's detractors can associate the Jewish movement for self-determination with the Apartheid South African regime, they will have done lasting and maybe irreparable damage. Yet the comparison of Israel to South Africa under white supremist rule has been utterly rejected by those with intimate understanding of the old Apartheid system. Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process. There are Arab parliamentarians, Arab judges including on the Supreme Court, Arab cabinet ministers, Arab heads of hospital departments, Arab university professors, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Service, and very senior Arab police and army officers. Incitement to racism in Israel is a criminal offence, as is discrimination on the basis of race or religion. Zionism is perhaps the only national movement that has received explicit support and endorsement both from the League of Nations and from the United Nations. It was the League of Nations that approved the mandate for Palestine with its ringing endorsement of "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." More...
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Two-Year Path to Palestinian Statehood: Implications for the Palestinian Authority and Israel
Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari  |  Peace Process

In August 2009, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced a unilateral plan to establish a de facto Palestinian state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem following a two-year state-building process. Fayyad's plan is the first serious Palestinian outline of a state-building effort since the PLO was founded in 1964 and replaces the traditional PLO position of armed struggle to "liberate Palestine." The Fayyad plan represents a bold anti-Fatah posture and is seen to pose a direct challenge to Fatah and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Fayyad enjoys only limited political backing and his political rivals, such as Tawfiq Tirawi, Abu Maher Gneim, and Mahmud al-Alul, who were recently elected to the new Fatah Central Committee, have already blasted Fayyad's plans. Israel supports "bottom up" Palestinian state-building. However, Israeli leaders have voiced legal and security-based concerns over Fayyad's intention that the PLO would unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood in 2011 based on the June 4, 1967, lines. The one-sided establishment of a Palestinian state would contravene a key provision of the Oslo Interim Agreement, according to which: "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status agreement." Another direct challenge to Israel is that Fayyad's "blueprint" calls for massive Palestinian development in Area "C" of the disputed West Bank, which is under Israeli civil and security control, and which directly challenges the delicate, agreed-upon framework of the 1993 Oslo accords. Israel's requirement of "defensible borders" involves its continuing control in Area "C," including the strategically vital Jordan Valley and the high ground surrounding Jerusalem and overlooking Israel's vulnerable cities along the Mediterranean coast. Hizbullah's 4,000 rocket attacks from the north in 2006 and Hamas' 10,000 rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza, culminating in the 2009 Gaza war, both underscore the potential rocket threat against Israel's cities that could emerge from a Palestinian state in the West Bank if Israel were to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines. More...
Kazakhstan: Israel

Kazakhstan: Israel's Partner in Eurasia
Ariel Cohen  |  Israel

Israel and post-communist, resource-rich states have similar geopolitical priorities in opposing terrorism and radical Islam. By developing closer ties with Kazakhstan - and with Eurasian countries in general - Israel can expand its ties to the secular Muslim Turkic states and its role in the new "great game" of Eurasia: economic development fueled by exports of the region's massive natural resources. Israel and the countries of Eurasia are economically complimentary: Central Asian countries are rich in natural resources, and can benefit from Israeli solar, irrigation/agricultural, medical and other know-how. Israel can offer high-tech, military, and advanced agricultural technology, cutting-edge medical sciences, and educational opportunities. As always in international relations, common interests define strong ties. On occasion, President Nursultan Nazarbayev used his good services to appeal to Iran on behalf of missing Israeli servicemen or call on Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons, as Kazakhstan did in 1994. Unfortunately, these appeals usually fall on deaf ears. With oil prices rising, Kazakhstan may have left the nadir of economic decline behind, although banking and construction sectors were hurt particularly hard. More...
Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians

Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians
Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi  |  International Law

Was the UN commission's approach one-sided against Israel, or unbiased and objective as commission chairman Richard Goldstone contended? Statements of Palestinians recorded by the commission and posted on the UN website provide authentic evidence of the commission's methodology and raise serious questions about its intentions to discover the truth. Commission members did not ask the interviewed Palestinians questions about the activities of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip which could be classified as war crimes or that were potentially dangerous to innocent Palestinians. Furthermore, there was no serious consideration of Palestinian "friendly fire" incidents, and we can only guess how many Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded by Palestinian fire. Reports issued by the Palestinian terrorist organizations themselves detailed the fighting in a way that often contradicted the Palestinian witnesses. In addition, the witnesses hid vital information from the commission regarding the presence of armed terrorists or exchanges of fire in their vicinity. More...
Palestinian "Policemen" Killed in Gaza Operation Were Trained Terrorists

Palestinian "Policemen" Killed in Gaza Operation Were Trained Terrorists
Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi  |  Hamas

After international human rights organizations accused Israel of killing innocent Palestinian "traffic policemen" during the Gaza operation, a detailed investigation shows that a decisive majority of the Palestinian "policemen" were members of the military wings of the Palestinian terror organizations and fighters who had undergone military training. Among the 343 members of the Palestinian security forces who were killed, 286 have been identified as terror organization members (83 percent). Another 27 fighters belonging to units undergoing infantry training raises this total to 313 (91 percent). Lumped under the rubric of the "Palestinian police" are all the security bodies that fulfilled combat and terror roles against Israel, the intelligence and preventive intelligence bodies, as well as those active in policing and maintaining order. Those serving in all of the Palestinian security apparatuses in 2007 and 2008 took part in terror activity and fighting against the IDF. More...
New Developments in Iran

New Developments in Iran's Missile Capabilities: Implications Beyond the Middle East
Uzi Rubin  |  Iran

The cumulative weight of Iranian missile development achievements in the last two years puts Iran's programs into a context which might be wider than the Middle East. Up to now, the Iranian programs could fit only a local scenario. However, recent developments may show not necessarily the intention but at least the capability of the Iranians to extend their missile program to potential targets beyond the Middle East. The Iranian defense minister has spoken of two missiles: the Kadr I that goes 2,000 km. and the Sejil that goes more than 2,000 km. Why is 2,000 km. significant? Less than 2,000 km. does not threaten Europe. Beyond that you are starting to threaten Europe. More...
Will Fatah Give Up the Armed Struggle at Its Sixth General Congress?

Will Fatah Give Up the Armed Struggle at Its Sixth General Congress?
Pinhas Inbari  |  Palestinian Authority

Many observers are watching to see to what extent Fatah's Sixth General Congress will advance or retard the prospects for re-launching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. In this regard, the crucial question is: Is Fatah going to waive its historical principle of "armed struggle" and devote itself to peace negotiations based on compromise? The two relevant documents to be discussed and approved by the Fatah Congress are the Political Program and Fatah's "Internal Order." The Political Program might be seen as reflecting progress in terms of accepting a political solution and rejecting violence - but it falls short of waiving the principle of armed struggle. The real problem lies in the Internal Order document, which restores all of the phrases that were omitted in the Political Program. While the Political Program sought to subordinate the struggle to the need for "international legitimacy," the Internal Order is very clear in rejecting all international peace initiatives. In the Internal Order document, Fatah retains the armed struggle as a strategy in order to liberate the whole of Palestinian and eliminate Israel. Article 12 calls for "the liberation of Palestine completely and the elimination of the state of the Zionist occupation economically, politically, militarily, and culturally." Article 13 calls for "establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory." While the Political Program lists the "one-state solution" as an option in case the "two-state solution" fails, the Internal Order document mentions the "one-state solution" as the only solution. Should there be any question regarding Fatah's objectives, Article 17 states: "The armed popular revolution is the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestine," while Article 19 notes: "The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine." More...
JCPA, Beit Milken, 13 Tel Hai St., Jerusalem 92107, Israel, Tel: 972-2-5619281 Fax: 972-2-5619112, jcpa@netvision.net.il
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