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 (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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APN Special Rosh Hashana Q&A with Yossi Alpher: Erev Rosh Hashana, Peace Prospects for the Coming Year

Hard Questions, Tough Answers (9.11.17) - Israel’s emerging new security 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 the Israeli Air Force's alleged attack on a Syrian missile plant deep in Syrian territory; whether this is Israel's only new security front; Israel's internal security; why the Border Patrol's theatre of action is a new security front; what Hamas is doing in Lebanon; the "front" of expanding global strategic reach; and what happened to the conventional Arab military challenge to Israel.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (9.5.17) - The UN and the Israel-Arab conflict

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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 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's statement during his visit to Ramallah that there is “no plan B to the two-state solution"; examples of "plan B's"; Guterres's statement that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is one of the most dramatic he has seen, and that the punitive siege should be removed; whether the new language in UNIFIL's renewed mandate will make a difference as the clock ticks on conflict between Israel and Iran/Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Syria.  

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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 Prime Minister Netanyahu's urgent trip to Russia; whether the US is prepared to acquiesce in an Iranian power-play under Russian auspices in Syria; if the Putin-Netanyahu conversation yielded the desired breakthrough; how seriously Netanyahu takes the prospect of an Iranian military presence in Syria; and the results of the US peace delegation's recent trip to the region.

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August 21 - Women and religion in the IDF: where are we heading?

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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 Israel's absorption of more women and ultra-Orthodox men, and if that engenders conflict; how these army issues and contradictions play out in society; the challenge the IDF confronts; parallels to these issues elsewhere in the Middle East; and if there is a collective bottom line between the Israeli and Kurdish experiences.

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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 China's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace; why Beijing bothered with the proposal; Kushner and Greenblatt's upcoming trip to the region; their visits to Egypt and Jordan; and Netanyahu's frequent employment of Orthodox American Jewish immigrants to Israel in trusted senior 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 whether with Ari Harow, a former Netanyahu aide who will implicate him in corruption allegations, the clock is finally ticking on Netanyahu's premiership; Mahmoud Abbas's health and political future; where the Taylor Force act comes into play; and how Netanyahu and Abbas exiting office would affect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prospects for peace initiatives.

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July 31, 2017 - The Temple Mount “strategic event” and Israeli strategic complacency

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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 aftermath of the Temple Mount and Jordanian crises, the resulting tension, and Netanyahu's territorial exchange proposal.

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