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Posted on: September 21st, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Jorge Luis Borges, the very special Argentine writer and philosopher, sometimes quite happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although lacking any apparent basis in halacha, he nonetheless felt himself to be a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges at Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."
Posted on: September 14th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Sometimes, as I have asserted from time to time in this column, seeing requires distance. Now, suffocating daily in political and economic rants from both the Right and the Left, we Americans must promptly confront a critical need to look beyond the historical moment, to seek both meaning and truth behind the news. There, suitably distant from the endlessly adrenalized jumble of current fears and concerns, we could finally understand the timeless struggle of individual against mass, of the singular person against the "crowd."
Posted on: September 7th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Declaring Palestine. It is a core issue for Israel that has come up in my columns before. But now, the enemy's operational tactics have been changed and fine-tuned. This month, Palestinian Authority leaders will seek formal creation of their independent state via the "good offices" of the United Nations.
Posted on: August 31st, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
For Israel, the prime inheritor of Genesis, an expanding global chaos portends a very unusual, and also ironic, kind of fragility. A relentlessly beleaguered microstate, and always the individual Jew writ large, Israel could become the principal victim of international disorder. In view of the exceptionally far-reaching interrelatedness of all world politics, this could be true even if the actual precipitating events of war and terror would occur elsewhere.
Posted on: August 25th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa signals important and potentially catastrophic transformations. For Israel, the greatest danger stems from the interpenetrating and largely unpredictable effects of war, terrorism and revolution in the region. In essence, these plainly destabilizing effects could spawn an unprecedented and historically unique kind of chaos.
Posted on: August 17th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
I am a professor of international law. In my columns, therefore, I focus from time to time on distinctly legal aspects of Israel's foreign relations. Nonetheless, I am always deeply attentive to examining these particular aspects within a genuinely realistic geopolitical or geostrategic context.
Posted on: August 10th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
When on October 6, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian surprise attacks came dangerously close to jeopardizing Israel's survival, it was because of a monumental intelligence failure. Similarly, on January 18, 1991, the scream of air-raid sirens could be heard in every corner of Israel. The Iraqi Scuds that slammed through Tel Aviv and Haifa neighborhoods had caught the country, in the words of a former Israeli intelligence chief, "with its pants down." In the latter case, the only element that saved Israel was Iraq's notably ineffectual warheads. If they had not been so ineffectual, Israel could have suffered profoundly, if not existentially.
Posted on: August 3rd, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Israel's persisting legal obligation to abrogate the Oslo Accords, as we have seen, stemmed from certain peremptory expectations of international law. Israel, however, also has substantial rights of abrogation here that bind its behavior apart from any such expectations. These particular rights derive from the basic doctrine of Rebus sic stantibus.
Posted on: July 27th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The explicit application of codified restrictions of the laws of war to noninternational-armed conflicts dates back only as far as the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Recalling, however, that more than treaties and conventions comprise the laws of war, it is also clear that the obligations of jus in bello (justice in war) comprise part of "the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations," and bind all categories of belligerents. Indeed, the Hague Convention IV of 1907 declares, in broad terms, that in the absence of a precisely published set of guidelines in humanitarian international law concerning "unforeseen cases," the preconventional sources of international law govern all belligerency.
Posted on: July 20th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO have always been in violation of international law. Israel, therefore, has always been obligated to abrogate these non-treaty agreements. A comparable argument could be made regarding PLO/PA obligations, but this would make little jurisprudential sense in light of that non-state party's antecedent incapacity to enter into any equal legal arrangement with Israel.
Posted on: July 13th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
At the end of April 2011, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas reached a formal reconciliation and unification agreement. At that time, Hamas leader Mahmoud Azhar carefully noted the still-unchanged Hamas platform - "no recognition of Israel, and no negotiation." To be sure, this refractory position will become the de jure and/or de facto position of Fatah as well.
Posted on: July 7th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
After suffering anyenemy nuclear aggression, Israel wouldcertainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Although nothing is publicly known about Israel's precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would most likely be launched against the aggressor's capital city, and/or against similarly high-value urban targets. Understandably, there would be no assurances, in response to this sort of plainly genocidal aggression, that Israel would in any way limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.
Posted on: June 29th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
In Israel, a core disagreement has emerged between Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan.
Posted on: June 22nd, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Author's Note: The following article was originally in these pages in February 2000. It is being reprinted now because President Obama has recently advanced a "Two-State Solution" that utterly ignores the irremediable core impediment to real peace in the Middle East. This impediment was, and still remains, the far-reaching and fundamentally doctrinal Islamic hatred of Jews.
Posted on: June 15th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Even with Osama bin Laden gone, al Qaeda operatives, some actively collaborating with more-or-less kindred groups, are planning terror attacks against the United States. These attacks could conceivably involve chemical and/or biological weapons.
Posted on: June 7th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Mr. President, the "Two-State" approach to peace between Israel and Palestine, strongly reaffirmed in your recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, accepts the position of an Israeli occupation. Yet even the most cursory look at pertinent world history would reveal several compelling reasons to reject any such position. Organized Arab terrorism against Israel began on the very first hour of Israel's independence, in May 1948. Indeed, virulent anti-Jewish terrorism in the British Mandate period had even taken place many years before Israel's statehood.
Posted on: June 1st, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The more things change, the more they remain the same. Soon, even the more "moderate" Palestinian forces will re-start their carefully choreographed terror attacks against Israel. Simultaneously, more or less, Hamas- even as it proceeds to a presumably formal rapprochement with Fatah - will do the same. In Lebanon, Shiite Hizbullah, steadily mentored and lavishly re-supplied by Iran, and operationally allied with Sunni Hamas, has already initiated massive preparations for the next war.
Posted on: May 25th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Adam Smith published his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. A revolutionary book, Wealth did not aim to support the interests of any one particular class, but rather the overall well being of an entire nation. He sought, as every American high school student learns, "an invisible hand," whereby "the private interests and passions of men" will lead to "that which is most agreeable to the interest of a whole society."
Posted on: May 18th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. Special Forces on May 1, 2011. Although media emphasis thus far has been focused almost entirely on the pertinent operational and political issues surrounding this "high value" killing, there are also important jurisprudential aspects to the case that require similar attention. Whether or not killing Osama was a genuinely purposeful assassination from a strategic perspective, a question that will be debated for years to come, we should now also inquire: Was it legal?
Posted on: May 11th, 2011InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
IDF planners working on an improved strategic paradigm will need to understand the following: Removing the bomb from Israel's "basement" could enhance Israel's nuclear deterrent to the extent that it would enlarge enemy perceptions of secure and capable Israeli nuclear forces. Such a calculated end to deliberate ambiguity could also underscore Israel's willingness to use these nuclear forces in reprisal for certain enemy first-strike and retaliatory attacks. From the standpoint of successful Israeli nuclear deterrence, IDF planners must proceed on the assumption that perceived willingness is always just as important as perceived capability. This, again, may bring to mind the counter intuitively presumed advantages for Israel of sometimes appearing less than fully rational.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/after-pillar-of-defense-separating-appearance-from-reality-second-of-two-parts/2013/01/23/
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