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Posted on: December 15th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
From the beginning, Israel has successfully managed to craft its overriding strategic doctrine apart from any specific U.S. expectations. To be sure, keeping its "bomb in the basement" has been at least partially a response to expressed American wishes. After all, any explicit end to nuclear ambiguity could have proven unacceptable to Washington. Still, all other core doctrinal considerations of nuclear force structure, basing, targeting and nuclear retaliatory thresholds have likely been fashioned, quite correctly, to suit only Israel.
Posted on: December 8th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Si vis pacem, para bellum atomicum. "If you want peace, prepare for atomic war." However reluctantly, this must be Israel's overriding strategic mantra in the years ahead. This is not because a nuclear war is especially likely, but rather because Israel's nuclear deterrent will remain indispensable for the prevention of large-scale conventional conflict.
Posted on: December 1st, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
President Obama has hitherto accepted the language of a "moderate" Palestinian Authority. The PA and its associates are distinctly obligated to refrain from incitement against Israel. Going back even to the legal antecedents of the current peace process, the Interim Agreement (Oslo 2) stated, at Article XXII, that Israel and the PA "shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other...." In the Note for the Record, which accompanied the Hebron Protocol of January 15,1997, the PA reaffirmed its commitment regarding "Preventing Incitement and Hostile Propaganda, as specified in Article XXII of the Interim Agreement." Substantially familiar if more general reaffirmations can readily be found in the Road Map.
Posted on: November 24th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
But what has all this to do with present-day Israel, the recent American elections, and the Obama Road Map? For a very long time, certainly for the past dozen years, specifically anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes have been standard fare on Palestinian Authority, Syrian, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Hezbollah television. As for the Arab print-media, even in "moderate" Jordan, the general and unrelenting theme remains that Jewish "infidels" are distinctly less than human, basically degenerate and suitable only for sacrificial (terrorist) killing.
Posted on: November 17th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
After the recent U.S. election, President Barack Obama unhappily conceded that he had suffered a "shellacking." For the most part, the president was referring to an obviously firm and far-reaching rejection of his domestic policies. Nonetheless, his personal influence has now been weakened generally, including in many areas of U.S. foreign policy. It is fair to ask, therefore, whether his oft-stated preferences for a "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East" (that is, creation of a Palestinian state out of the still-living body of Israel), and also for "a world free of nuclear weapons (that is, a world in which Israel would no longer be able to deter existential attacks) are still a matter of reasonable concern.
Posted on: November 11th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Pretended irrationality can be a double-edged sword. Brandished too irrationally, Israeli preparations for a Samson Option could encourage enemy preemptions. Here, again, the specter of a nuclear Iran should emerge front and center. After all, sanctions against Iran have represented little more than a fly on the elephant's back.
Posted on: November 4th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
What is Israel to do? Confronting a new enemy Arab state that could act collaboratively and capably (thanks, largely, to the U.S.) with other Arab states, or possibly even with non-Arab Iran, and also potentially serious synergies between the birth of Palestine, and renewed terrorism from Lebanon, Israel could feel itself compelled to bring hitherto clandestine elements of its "ambiguous" nuclear strategy into the light of day. Here, leaving the "bomb in the basement" would no longer make strategic sense.
Posted on: October 27th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
In the always complex discourse of nuclear strategy, critical thinking is a "net." Only those who cast will catch. To calculate Israel's best strategic options in the months and years ahead, the capable strategist must continue to ask and answer difficult questions persistently, patiently, and above all, systematically. Only by drawing together, seamlessly, this interrelated body of queries and replies, can the serious military analyst ever hope for a coherent and comprehensive body of military and diplomatic theory - a strategic master plan from which particular policies and decisions can be suitably extracted. The only alternative is the usual patchwork quilt of journalistic or reportorial "explanation," an arbitrary mélange of more or less disjointed information and factoids lacking even the rudiments of predictive thought.
Posted on: October 20th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Only a selective end to its nuclear ambiguity would allow Israel to exploit the potentially considerable benefits of a Samson Option. Should Israel choose to keep its Bomb in the "basement," therefore, it could not make any use of the Samson Option.
Posted on: October 14th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The Israeli policy of an undeclared nuclear capacity will not work indefinitely. Left unrevised, this policy will fail. The most obvious locus of failure would be Iran.
Posted on: October 6th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Worldwide, it is generally assumed that Israel's nuclear policy of deliberate ambiguity makes good sense. Everyone already knows that Israel has "the Bomb." So, why "stir the pot" by retreating from "opacity?"
Posted on: September 28th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
U.S. President Barack Obama will not back away from his so-called "Road Map to Peace in the Middle East." Even now, a plainly self-defeating "Two-State Solution" remains the cornerstone of this twisted cartography. Understanding all this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly continues to harbor hopes that, somehow, any Palestinian state would be suitably demilitarized. Such hopes, of course, would necessarily rest upon a problematic antecedent assumption that demilitarization could actually work.
Posted on: September 21st, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The central truth of being human is the constant love of being alive. We Jews, of course, both in our prayers, and in our sacred rituals, have always underscored the central difference between life and death, between the "blessing and the curse." In consequence, all Jewish survival, individually and collectively, is now closely bound up with the survival of the Jewish state. For both its too few friends, and its too many enemies, Israel is now plainly the individual Jew in macrocosm.
Posted on: September 16th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Regarding the Oslo Accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security has become increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy. Faced with a codified and substantial loss of territories generated by Oslo, the Jewish state will soon have to decide on precisely how to compensate for its expectedly diminished strategic depth. While this shrinkage will not necessarily increase Israel's existential vulnerability to unconventional missile attack, it surely will increase that state's susceptibility to attacking ground forces and to subsequent enemy occupation. Any loss of strategic depth will almost certainly be interpreted by enemy states as a significant weakening of Israel's overall defense posture, an interpretation that could then lead to substantial enemy incentives to strike first.
Posted on: September 7th, 2010InDepth → 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: September 1st, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
The more things change, the more they remain the same. From its imperiled beginnings, from the plainly one-sided inception of Oslo, the so-called "Middle East Peace Process" never gave Israel a chance. Widely animated by a distinctly lascivious Arab will to exploit the agreement in order to hasten Israel's incremental elimination, a Final Solution to the Israel Question, it remains, even today, little more than an enemy Trojan Horse. Ironically, from the standpoint of current U.S. and other national foreign policies, the "Peace Process" is now routinely characterized as a road map.
Posted on: August 26th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
Faced with the daunting prospect of seemingly endless terrorism, and with staggering global opposition to any of its essential and altogether permissible forms of self-defense, Israel now requires a complex and capable counter-terrorism strategy merely to survive. Simultaneously, the major threats to Israel's physical survival lie in certain mass-destruction (biological and/or nuclear) attacks by enemy states. Ultimately, therefore, the Jewish State's actual continuance rests upon even more than successful counter-terrorism. It rests also upon the inherently fragile and unpredictable foundations of nuclear deterrence.
Posted on: August 19th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
It is not always easy, in studying world politics, to know when power is really "powerful," and when weakness is really "weak." Oddly enough, some states that are presumably very powerful in measurable military terms may occasionally have to yield to others that seemingly lack power altogether. Even more ironically, in the case of Israel versus Hamas, the presumably powerful state is increasingly at the mercy of a brutal criminal organization that is substantially less autonomous than a truly sovereign state, and that has no armed forces even worth mentioning.
Posted on: August 4th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
War, terrorism and genocide are not mutually exclusive. Now, as certain portions of the Arab/Islamic world openly declare genocidal intentions against Israel (a war of extermination is plainly a genocidal war under international law), some progressive Jews are proudly leading various rallies and/or publications for peace - a peace that could only be fashioned upon a new generation of Jewish corpses. Here, in the United States, and regrettably, also in Israel, Jewish university professors are all-too typically the leaders in organized campus protests (1) against an alleged Israeli "occupation," and (2) for expanded Palestinian "rights."
Posted on: July 28th, 2010InDepth → Columns → Louis Rene Beres
On its surface, The Pianist is "merely" the true tale of a great Jewish musician (Wladyslaw Szpilman) caught up in the unfathomable depths of Nazi occupation and terror. More profoundly, of course, it is a disturbing visual microcosm of the generic human struggle between good and evil, a titanic struggle that is sometimes utterly clear, but at other times also distressingly "gray." The Nazis in Poland were monsters, to be sure, but what are we to say about the others, including many Jews, who became actual and collaborative perpetrators in every corner of the Holocaust Kingdom? What pertinent lessons can we learn from this 2002 film for Jewish, and especially Israeli, preservation in our own perilous time?
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