INSS


Institute for National Securities Studies, INSS is an independent academic institute.

The Institute is non-partisan, independent, and autonomous in its fields of research and expressed opinions. As an external institute of Tel Aviv University, it maintains a strong association with the academic environment. In addition, it has a strong association with the political and military establishment.

Most Recent Articles by INSS:

New Obstacles Facing Israeli Natural Gas Exports

Jul 10, 2018 — INSS

New Obstacles Facing Israeli Natural Gas Exports
Two developments of recent weeks threaten to reduce significantly the possibility of exporting Israel’s natural gas. One is Erdogan’s victory in the Turkish elections and the expansion of his powers, which reduce and perhaps eliminate the chances of an underwater gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey. The second is initial reports regarding new gas reserves off the coast of Egypt, which threaten the existing deal to export gas from Israel to Egypt, as well as Israel’s plan to make use of Egypt’s liquefaction facilities to export liquid gas to Europe.


Demonstrations in Jordan: A Bona Fide Threat to the Regime?

Jun 7, 2018 — INSS

Demonstrations in Jordan: A Bona Fide Threat to the Regime?
For several days now, thousands of Jordanians have been demonstrating against the Jordanian government and Hani al-Mulki, who, until June 4, had been serving as its prime minister. The demonstrators are protesting the government’s intention to enforce more meticulous collection of taxes, raise the tax rate, and increase the prices of products for which demand is virtually inflexible, such as electricity and gasoline. The demonstrators are demanding the government’s resignation and the annulment of the changes it has proposed. The prime minister has indeed resigned, and at this stage, the king has halted the implementation of the government’s decisions. However, the monetary and fiscal hardship remains as does the regime’s dilemma of how to overcome it.


Iran’s Dilemma: Respond to Israeli Actions in Syria with Terror Attacks Abroad?

May 23, 2018 — INSS

Iran’s Dilemma: Respond to Israeli Actions in Syria with Terror Attacks Abroad?
In view of the public promise by senior Iranian spokespersons that Israel would soon weep over its soldiers just as Iran mourned its soldiers, it remains to be seen if and how Iran will retaliate against Israel’s recent broad counter-attack against Iranian targets in Syria: with what intensity, with what method, and in what location. However, notwithstanding declarations from Iranian leaders that ongoing Israeli actions against its forces and proxies will lead to the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv, it appears that Iran is not genuinely interested in war, particularly not on Syrian or Lebanese territory, fearing the consequences for both the survival of the Assad regime and for Hezbollah’s status. (Israel too is not interested in an all-out war.)


Israel Apartheid Week 2018

May 19, 2018 — INSS

Israel Apartheid Week 2018
Over the past 14 years Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has been observed in various countries across the globe, among them the United States, Britain, Canada, and South Africa. The “week” is typically implemented on and off university campuses during specific days between mid-February and mid-April. As opposed to criticism against particular, concrete policies of the Israeli government, IAW encompasses harsh anti-Israel activity, traditionally in the form of alleging linkages and similarities between Israel and apartheid South Africa – with the aim of delegitimizing and isolating Israel internationally.

“Israel Apartheid Week” is of threefold concern. First, events held under its banner can, and often do, evolve into anti-Semitic displays and slurs, reportedly resulting in a sense of insecurity among Jewish communities, particularly Jewish students at university campuses. Second, polls and research show that on campuses, the immediate affiliation with Israel thrust upon Jewish students – expected to advocate or condone Israel regardless of the fact that they may prefer not to take a stand – leads to anger and anxiety, which in certain cases is assumed to encourage alienation from Israel. Third, IAW, which is only a part of a larger ongoing campaign to mar Israel’s image, actively strives to delegitimize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.


President el-Sisi’s Second Term: The Challenge of Legitimacy

May 10, 2018 — INSS

Egypt, Israel, President el-Sisi's Second Term
As expected, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was reelected Egyptian president in late March 2018, this time, with 97.08 percent of the vote. Only 41.05 percent of eligible voters voted in these elections, compared with 47.5 percent in the 2014 elections and 51.85 percent in the 2012 elections, although the elections continued for three days and despite threats (later proven empty) to fine any eligible voter who did not exercise his right to vote 500 Egyptian pounds ($28, one sixth of the average monthly wage in Egypt).


The Parliamentary Elections in Lebanon: Hezbollah’s Victory within the Political Status Quo

May 10, 2018 — INSS

The Parliamentary Elections in Lebanon: Hezbollah’s Victory within the Political Status Quo
On May 6, 2018, parliamentary elections were held in Lebanon for the first time since 2009. The results – which, in stark contrast to elections in other Arab countries, were held in a free and democratic atmosphere – show that the Shia bloc grew stronger, mainly at the expense of the political party of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Within the Shia bloc, the Amal party was apparently strengthened at the expense of Hezbollah. The elections were held after a year replete with crises, strikes, and demonstrations over many domestic issues. The low voter turnout reflected the sentiments of substantial segments of the population, mainly among the young generation, who are alienated by the traditional politics and the alleged corruption and dirty dealings in the Lebanese political arena. The voter turnout also reflected the growing troubles among the middle class, the country’s faltering economy, the need to contend with approximately one million Syrian refugees in the country, and more.


Israel and United States Military Assistance to Egypt

Apr 30, 2018 — INSS

Israel should encourage the US to retain its policy of orienting the military assistance to counterterrorism and border security challenges
In January 2018, with little fanfare, the United States and Egypt signed a bilateral communications security agreement known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which protects and regulates the use of sensitive American avionics and communications systems. Until now, Cairo refused to sign CISMOA, objecting to the invasive access it accords the US to Egypt’s facilities and communications systems.

The lack of an agreement affected the level of the telecommunications and navigation devices on the US-made platforms and armaments sold to Egypt, limiting them to low standard commercial-grade systems. Consequently, the precision guided munitions (PGMs) sold by the US to Egypt were limited to the laser-guided kind, and only recently, with the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets from France, Egypt acquired European-made GPS-guided PGMs, such as the AASM Hammer bomb. The signing of CISMOA now allows, for the first time, the acquisition by Egypt of US-made high precision GPS-based air-to-ground weapon systems and components, as well as advanced air-to-air missiles.


The Saudi Revolution

Apr 23, 2018 — INSS

The Saudi Revolution
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of revolutionary processes that aim to change the economic and social fabric in this conservative kingdom. In contrast to the bottom-up Arab revolutions that took place over the past decade, the Saudi revolution is guided top-down by Crown Prince and acting ruler Mohammad bin Salman from his palace in Riyadh. The 32-year-old prince is also trying to impose change to the house of Saud itself: a switch from collective rule by the different branches of the family, which created a system of checks and balances, to what more and more appears to be the autocratic rule of bin Salman himself. Opponents of bin Salman, whether by choice or circumstance, including people in the media, religious figures, businessmen, and even princes have been dismissed, arrested, or dispossessed in the name of the struggle against corruption in a process that has thus far lacked transparency.


National Home Front Exercise “Solid Stand”: Doubts concerning Civilian Preparedness for an Emergency

Apr 17, 2018 — INSS

The
The “Solid Stand” nation-wide home front exercise conducted by the Home Front Command (HFC) took place this year on the third day of the general staff exercise, which was held on March 11-15, 2018. The exercise dealt with a multi-front conflict, with the northern front – Syria and Lebanon, through Hezbollah – representing the central threat to the Israeli civilian home front. The exercise was intended to advance cooperation between the Home Front Command and the various emergency and rescue organizations, so as to enhance the public’s readiness for war. In practice, the volume of information that was delivered to the civilian sector was very limited. Consequently it was reported that “following the first siren, the rescue call centers were flooded with questions from terrified people who knew nothing about the drill” (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv, March 14, 2018).


From the First Intifada to the “March of Return”

Apr 12, 2018 — INSS

From the First Intifada to the March of Return
The “March of Return” events have brought out the masses. It seems that since the first intifada the Palestinian arena has not witnessed such widespread mass participation as evident in the recent protests along the Gaza Strip border - on Land Day, Friday, March 30, 2018, and the Friday that followed. As the organizers see it, this is the start of a series of moves, intended to peak on May 15, 2018. The higher number of fatalities than generally known in mass events of recent years and the large number of wounded have aroused in the Palestinians the desire for revenge and increased the motivation to continue the demonstrations. On the other hand, the number of dead and wounded has also deterred many from continuing the activity along the border fence.


A Sense of Victory on Both Sides: A Recipe for Escalation in Gaza?

Apr 9, 2018 — INSS

A Sense of Victory on Both Sides: A Recipe for Escalation in Gaza?
Following the “March of Return” events led by Hamas on two turbulent Fridays at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, both sides declared victory.

Hamas boasts a sense of victory and satisfaction given that in its view, the organization has reclaimed the leadership of the Palestinian struggle, found an effective strategy to challenge Israel without (at least, so far) igniting another round of fighting, positioned itself as the leader of an unarmed, non-violent civilian protest, shown Abu Mazen to be irrelevant and limited his ability to increase the sanctions on Gaza, and aroused international criticism of Israel for ostensibly disproportionate use of military force in particular, and for the “blockade” of Gaza in general.




Preparations for the Nakba March: Hamas’s Cognitive Campaign

Mar 21, 2018 — INSS

preparations-for-the-nakba-march-hamass-cognitive-campaign
The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is heavily engaged in preparations for a major event, the “Great March of Return,” when thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians will march toward the security fence and position themselves in tent cities along the Israeli border. This event, scheduled for May 14, 2018, marking seventy years since the establishment of the State of Israel, is designed to highlight the Palestinian refugee issue and connect it to the plight of those living the Gaza Strip. The move is also designed to serve the Hamas leadership in Gaza in its struggle within the Palestinian arena, given its assessment that the reconciliation talks with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are doomed to fail, and in order to position Hamas as leader of the national struggle and a worthy alternative to Fatah.


The Gas Deal with Egypt: Israel Deepens its Anchor in the Eastern Mediterranean

Mar 13, 2018 — INSS

The Gas Deal with Egypt: Israel Deepens its Anchor in the Eastern Mediterranean
On February 19, 2018, the gas partnerships in Israel announced a $15 billion contract to export 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Egypt over ten years. The contract, between the owners of the Tamar and Leviathan fields and the Egyptian Dolphinus Holding, is based on a memorandum of understanding from October 2014. Presumably the government of Israel played an important role in securing this deal, by promoting it with the Egyptian government and possibly also by covering the guarantees required from Dolphinus for its approval.


Delaying the Release of Fifth-Generation Fighter Planes to the Arab States

Mar 7, 2018 — INSS

Delaying the Release of Fifth-Generation Fighter Planes to the Arab States
Israel’s aerial superiority remains a key component of its qualitative military edge in the region. Israel’s airpower is central to its image and deterrent ability: it protects the country’s airspace, provides the first and multi-arena response to both immediate and more distant threats, enables retaliation and retribution missions for attacks on Israel, and plays a central role in managing military operations on various fronts. However, Israel’s aerial superiority has been eroded in recent years, due to a combination of two force buildup processes in Arab states – the improvement of their air defense systems and the massive acquisition of advanced fighter planes. For Israel to maintain aerial freedom of action in the next decade, it must have exclusive regional access to fifth-generation fighter planes, such as the F-35 (known in Israel as the “Adir”).


The Palestinian Refugees: Facts, Figures, and Significance

Feb 19, 2018 — INSS

The Palestinian Refugees: Facts, Figures, and Significance
The Palestinian refugee issue has been seen for some seventy years as a principal obstacle to a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the expanding numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Africa today challenge the uniqueness of the Palestinian situation. In fact, the issue of Palestinian refugees is perceived more as the reflection of an ongoing lapse by Arab countries, Israel, and the international community, which have been unable to separate the solution to this problem from the greater political arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite the ongoing distress of the refugees, the subject is still seen as the Palestinians’ main bargaining chip in peace negotiations with Israel. However, the value of this historical card appears to be ebbing with the growing numbers of refugees worldwide and the absence of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After seven decades and many changes in the Middle East, perhaps this complex issue should be disconnected from the greater political settlement.


Trump Administration Policy and American Public Opinion: Implications for Israel

Feb 19, 2018 — INSS

Trump Administration Policy and American Public Opinion: Implications for Israel
United States policy underwent significant changes during the past year under President Trump, as the administration’s national security strategy documents indicated that the shift toward the “America first” strategy was not merely about rhetoric. Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center enable evaluating whether these policy changes correspond to trends in public opinion. If so, one would expect the positions among the public to be long term and continue even after the current administration ends. If, however, the changes are not in line with prevailing public opinion, then the next elections could prompt a return to the American agenda that preceded the current administration. This analysis is important to both Washington’s adversaries and its allies, as it enables them to comprehend the significance of the current change. For Israel, the analysis is especially important, in view of the dramatic change in the ties between the countries since President Trump entered the White House.


Israel’s Engagement in Syria: Causes and Significance

Feb 14, 2018 — INSS

Israel’s Engagement in Syria: Causes and Significance
The events on the northern border before dawn on February 10, 2018, beginning with the downing of an Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli airspace, illustrated the fragile dynamic between Iran and Israel in the Syrian arena. On the one hand is Iran’s increasing entrenchment in Syria, a trend evident over the seven years of the Syrian civil war; on the other hand, Israel has expressed its operational determination to prevent such entrenchment, particularly any Iranian construction of military infrastructure, and demanded a full withdrawal from Syria of Iranian elements, Shiite militias, and Hezbollah.

The Iranians determined the timing of these hostilities, although it is doubtful whether they correctly assessed their scope. The dispatch of a drone into Israeli airspace at this point in time is surprising, given the ongoing intensive fighting on multiple fronts and involving multiple rivals in Syria; strong public criticism in Iran of the investment in Syria-Lebanon instead of in Iranian civilian welfare; the efforts of European countries to preserve the nuclear treaty, inter alia by responding to the demands of the Trump administration in the context of opposition to Iran’s missile program and regional policy; and attempts by the Assad regime with Russian assistance to take control of large parts of the country and proceed to the stage of stabilization and reconstruction. These developments are part of the backdrop to the process of seeking a settlement in Syria, which is underway through a number of diplomatic channels and is the focus of attention of the international community, which in any case identifies the Islamic Republic as an element that threatens regional stability.


The PLO Central Council Convention: Impasse with Possible Opportunity

Feb 9, 2018 — INSS

The PLO Central Council Convention: Impasse with Possible Opportunity
The climax of the recent PLO Central Council convention, which began on January 14, 2018 in Ramallah, was the speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On the following day, the Council passed several resolutions that in effect are recommendations to the PLO Executive Committee, the organization’s executive body. Most of the resolutions were in the spirit of Abbas’s recommendations in his speech and resonated of past resolutions.


Will the Protests in Iran Affect the Regime’s Priorities?

Jan 23, 2018 — INSS

Will the Protests in Iran Affect the Regime's Priorities?
During the recent waves of protests in Iran, much criticism was voiced against the country’s involvement in regional conflicts, particularly given the difficult economic situation within Iran itself. Demonstrators called for resources to be diverted from overseas to benefit the Iranian population. The large protests have since declined, but there are still some semblances of protest, indicating the resistance among portions of the public to continue sustaining the economic hardships. This article discusses the implications of the economic situation for the Iranian regime’s national priorities, including its support for elements engaged in undermining regional stability in the Middle East.


UNIFIL after Security Council Resolution 2373: Same Forces, More Reports

Jan 21, 2018 — INSS

UNIFIL after Security Council Resolution 2373: Same Forces, More Reports
On August 30, 2017, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2373, which extends Resolution 1701 (2006) and the mandate of the United Nation’s Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for another year. The main changes in Resolution 2373 from earlier resolutions lie in the request “to look at ways to enhance UNIFIL’s efforts… including ways to increase UNIFIL’s visible presence…within its existing mandate” and “to continue to issue prompt and detailed reports on violations of Resolution 1701…on the restrictions to UNIFIL’s freedom of movement… on specific areas where UNIFIL does not access ... and to further develop a reporting mechanism in order to provide concrete and detailed information on the aforementioned issues.” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon described it as “a significant political victory that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terrorist enterprise that Hezbollah established on Israel’s border,” and added that “the resolution requires UNIFIL to open its eyes, and forces it to take action against Hezbollah’s military force buildup in the area.”