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.

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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 Labor party leader Isaac “Bougie” Herzog's partial measure for the Palestinian issue and whether it is any more feasible than the two-state solution; is it better than nothing; if a possible Hamas initiative to start another Gaza war is a possibility; and where he envisages regional conflict escalation and how relevant this is for Israel and the US.

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February 01, 2016 - Regional initiatives, regional spying

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This week, Alpher discusses the flurry of high level discussions and agreements between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, with Egypt also mentioned as an economic and military partner, seemingly directed at isolating Turkey regionally; more Edward Snowden revelations of far-reaching electronic monitoring by the US and UK, and whether Israel is alarmed at its friends’ spying; if there is any chance of success trying to end the slaughter in Syria, via the convening of yet another high-level meeting in Geneva to try; how do Israelis react to more and more instances of regime-led siege warfare against Syrian civilian villages, leading to starvation; his reaction to French FM Fabius calling for an international peace conference and threatening that if it fails, France will recognize a Palestinian state.

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January 26, 2016 - Palestinian issues revisited

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This week, Alpher discusses why he has had so little discussion on issues related directly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and prospects for new negotiations recently; whether, even if that’s the case regarding the PLO in the West Bank, we can ignore assessments regarding Hamas and Hezbollah activity there, alongside predictions regarding violence emanating from Gaza, extremist inclinations among the Israeli Arab community, and even a high-level forecast of ISIS activity against Israel; the angry Israeli reaction to US Ambassador Dan Shapiro's statement that Israel exercises a legal double standard in its approach to Israeli settlers as opposed to Palestinians in the West Bank; and whether Israeli-Turkish negotiations regarding normalization of bilateral relations hold out any hope for a better situation in Gaza.

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January 18, 2016 - Basic questions on the broadest issues

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This week, Alpher discusses the Iran nuclear deal being fully implemented, with sanctions lifted earlier than originally predicted, and the US and Iran exchanging detainees; where these leave Washington’s relations with Israel and the Sunni Arab states; and the essentially Sunni Arab movements of Islamic State and al-Qaeda and the collapse of several Arab states - how and why all this began five years ago and whether we have figured that out so we can avoid repeating past mistakes.

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January 11, 2016 - States-within-a-state

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This week, Alpher discusses what strategic insights regarding Jewish-Arab relations in Israel can be derived from the manhunt and death of Neshat Melhem, the Dizengoff shooter; whether Israel can afford a larger police force; why Wadi Ara is particularly prone to pro-Palestinian sentiments; what did PM Netanyahu mean when he termed the Israeli Arabs a “state within a state;” whether this sort of state-within-a-state situation is unique to Israel in the Middle East; and how did the “state within a state” situation in Saudi Arabia and Iran find expression last week in the crisis in relations between the two.

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This week, Alpher discusses what we can expect in Israel and Israel-US relations in 2016; the notion that the Palestinian issue increasingly will become an internal Israeli affair; how the Arab and Muslim worlds will respond to this and if we will witness external aggression against Israel; and prospects for some sort of international political agreement regarding Syria, spearheaded by the US and Russia

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This week, Alpher discusses why the most senior ministers of Israel’s right-wing coalition are taking a strong stand against terrorist attacks by extremist fringe settlers, even though it is a pro-settler coalition; whether new political and ideological lines have been drawn and the political right woken up to the excesses of the settlement enterprise; what are the new regional dynamics and alignments emerging from the Islamic State challenge to the Middle East across the region, with Turkey and Israel talking again, Saudi Arabia establishing a 34-member Islamic coalition, and Israel reportedly assassinating a Hezbollah terrorist in the all-but-occupied (by Russia) Syrian capital of Damascus; and where Israel is in this dynamic.

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December 21, 2015 - What the “Breaking the Silence” controversy is really about

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This week, Alpher discusses why the Israeli political right is so brutally attacking the Breaking the Silence NGO, and why now; whether mainstream Israelis are defending Breaking the Silence; why is the foreign funding a problem, whether the settlers and right-wing NGOs are funded from abroad; the allegations regarding exaggerations and supporting BDS; the oft-quoted statement that the IDF is the most moral army in the world; what he suggests regarding Breaking the Silence and the right-wing campaign against it; the bigger picture: the right wing and the occupation.

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December 14, 2015 - Rivlin, Yossi Cohen, the Mossad, and Iran

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This week, Alpher discusses who is the real Reuven Rivlin and how much influence does he wield back home in Jerusalem; does Yossi Cohen's appointment as new head of the Mossad tell us something about the future direction of Israel’s overall security strategy; what will be Cohen’s primary intelligence collection and operational priorities in the Mossad in the years ahead; how can one explain Tehran removing most of its Revolutionary Guards Quds forces from the Syrian battlefield and sending them home to Iran.

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November 30, 2015 - Israel and the UAE, Israel and the Palestinians, Turkey and Russia

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This week, Alpher discusses whether the opening of a diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates is a breakthrough; is the Palestinian issue being pushed to the back burner internationally despite the current protest wave of violence that reflects a high degree of Palestinian public despair; and how we should read the fallout from Turkey’s downing of a Russian combat aircraft last weekend.

 

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