Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

Hard Questions, Tough Answers (11.13.17) - Israel on high alert on three fronts

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses whether, with developments in Lebanon and Syria, the Middle East is about to boil over; the Syria agreement and the gap between what it offers Israel and what Israel wants; whether the Saudis are inciting Israel to attack Hezbollah; whether the Saudi-Iranian confrontation is spilling over into the Palestinian arena; IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai's warning to Islamic Jihad that it not attack Israel; and the bottom line.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the officially cultiated legacy of Yitzhak Rabin and whether it corresponds with the man himself; his take on the Balfour Declaration; the legacy of Rafiq and Saad Hariri for Lebanon and the Levant; and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's arrest of tens of princes, ministers and former ministers for “corruption.”

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses President Rivlin's attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition; Netanyahu's response; how you explain Rivlin; Netanyahu's birthday celebration and his son's birthday greeting; another lawsuit against Sara Netanyahu from an employee of the prime minister's residence; and the bottom line.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (10.24.17) - The Kurds, Israel and the United States

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the issue with the Kurds, in a nutshell; how the Kurds got themselves in this mess and how Kirkuk figures so centrally in the Kurdish independence controversy; why the US is opposed to Kurdish independence and why it appears to be taking the side of Iran, Turkey and Iraq in this dispute; why Israel supports Kurdish independence; whether there is a Syrian Kurdish connection; and the argument that Israel is hypocritical because it supports Kurdish independence but thwarts Palestinian independence.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses why the Netanyahu government’s response to the Cairo agreement has been so low key; how Trump's “decertification” of the Iran nuclear deal might affect Israel; how the US decision to leave UNESCO might affect Israel; and how escalation between the US and North Korea might affect Israel.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the Fateh-Hamas negotiations regarding a unified Palestinian Authority that were set to commence on Monday in Cairo under the tutelage of Egyptian Intelligence Chief Khalid Fawzi. As this crucial reunification process proceeds, many questions arise--more than our usual weekly count. Note that at this juncture in the process, many of the answers are instructive rather than conclusive.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (10.3.17) - Autumn recommended reading about the Middle East

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher suggests readings for understanding the historical backdrop of the current chaos in the Arab Middle East, readings that provide contemporary, historical and political backdrop, and books about Israel.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the odds that the two geographical parts of the Palestinian Authority will be reunited; where Israel stands on the reunification issue; a new era of Israeli-Arab relations; the upcoming vote among the Kurds of northern Iraq for forming a separate Kurdish state; and where Israel stands on Kurdish independence.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (9.19.17) - Who wants to annex the West Bank?

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the National Union's (a faction of the Jewish Home party) plan for annexing all of the West Bank and either expelling or disenfranchising its Arab residents; what other right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition say on the issues of annexation and the subsequent rights of West Bank Palestinians; what advocates of more minimalistic annexation say; whether anyone in Israel wants to annex everything and give all Arab residents of expanded Israel full democratic rights; and the bottom line.

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Special Rosh Hashanah Q&A: Peace Prospects for the Coming Year

Q. Does the absence of a Palestinian state threaten Israel? How?

A. Yes, it threatens Israel, and in more ways than one.

Without an Arab-state political affiliation for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel is universally seen as their occupier. Not a single state in the world recognizes the terms “Judea and Samaria” or Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. The possibility of restoring a pre-1967 political link, say by affiliating the West Bank in some way with Jordan, has ceased to be realistic in Arab eyes for several decades. This is so despite the fact that some Israeli right-wingers cut off from regional realities and international standards of human rights argue that West Bank Palestinians could enjoy autonomy under Israel and vote in Jordanian elections.

Nor is the paternalistic proposal put forth by some on the Israeli right—to the effect that Palestinians in the West Bank can in perpetuity enjoy “human” rights but not citizenship rights on the land where they live-- viable in the eyes of Palestinians or anyone else in the world. Palestinian Arabs today identify as Palestinians in a political sense. If they cannot achieve sovereign statehood, the only fallback position they are likely to recognize is Israeli citizenship within the framework of a single state.

This brings us to the demographic issue. Most demographers today argue that there are already more Arabs than Jews in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Some on the Israeli right argue that the totality of Arabs is “only” 40 percent of the total population, meaning Jews constitute 55 percent (another five percent of Israelis are neither Jewish nor Arab). In some cases this figure is achieved by ignoring the two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a highly problematic geopolitical determination. In other cases it is achieved by radically underestimating the number of Palestinians in the West Bank and ignoring the 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

One way or another, even an Israeli state with a 40 percent (and growing!) Arab minority cannot claim to be intrinsically Jewish. As for a non-democratic state that favors its Jewish over its Arab inhabitants, this is anathema to the vast majority of Jews, to say nothing of the international community. It places Israel in the global family of racist, fascist countries whose prospects for enlightened progress are zero.

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