The 18th Herzliya Conference: Draws Challenges and theories of Confrontation

The 18th Herzliya Conference: Draws Challenges and theories of Confrontation

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Dr.Salim M.Al Zanoon

The Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies (IDC) holds its annual conference in Herzliya city “Immunity and National Security of the State of Israel”, it is one of the most important conferences in Israel, as one of the places where Israel’s various policies and strategies are drawn. The conference brings together senior Israeli political, military and security leaders and various academic and cultural elites, as well as Arab and international participation.
The latest conference takes place on 8-10 May 2018 in the midst of dynamic and escalating changes where a tension on the northern and southern front is rising as the confrontation with Iran escalates, along with the deterioration of the situation along the Gaza Strip border in addition to the developments of the peace process and the relations with the Palestinians. and at the regional level, a sharp rise in the arms race and its impact on the Israeli situation, all of these variables found implications in the conference under the title “Will the country calm down – Israel among stability, change and confrontation,” according to this perspective, the conference discussed the threats facing Israel and ways to address them, and Regional arms race and its effects on Israel, the relationship with the Arab states and the Palestinian situation.

First: Israeli Challenges.
The challenges facing Israel in the coming stage are Hezbollah and Iran. In the context of confronting the challenges on the Lebanese front, a strategic vision of “not separating between Lebanon as a state and Hezbollah” has been adopted and should be viewed as one body. And in the context to confront Iran , the theory of “hitting the octopus head” was adopted and stop wasting energies in fighting the arms.
Israel is acting against the Iranian nuclear program in accordance with the “Begin Doctrine”, starting with the use of diplomatic and security work, then using the policy of prevention and frustration, and in the last stage to use the policy of preemptive strike. ] The diplomatic phase ended with the signature of the nuclear agreement and started the phase of prevention and frustration with the signature of the agreement and the withdrawal of the United States marks the beginning of the end of the stage of prevention and frustration [.

Israel does not see at this point a necessity to attack Iran directly, but the next stage requires a good preparation to strike, to prevent the possession of nuclear weapons, and from the first day of the battle must hit the largest arsenal of missiles, and in the event of an Iranian-Israeli confrontation , Russia will play the role of mediator noting that Moscow does not want to be in a direct confrontation with Israel , , it is true that the interests are not the same but there are open relations between the two parties.

Second: Arms race.
Arms race in the Middle East began a decade ago, with the ” beginning of the Arab Spring”, driven by four geostrategic factors: the first Iranian behavior, the second the wars in the Middle East, the third the return of Russia to its position in the region the fourth the organizations sought to acquire weapons .
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are all seeking to increase their military capabilities and diversify the sources of arms purchases, each of which has aims to achieve it at the internal, regional and international levels and Turkey , Alger and Sudan come second .
Israel faces a range of challenges, including Iran’s nuclear, ballistic missiles, modern aircraft, advanced defense systems, naval threat, satellites, drones, and saber threats.
The paper recommends that Israel should bear in mind that increasing the capabilities of Arab states may crush Israeli military superiority, and must recognize that the relationship with these countries may change, and must respond to the strength they have accumulated.

Third: Arab-Israeli relations.
There are common strategic interests between the Gulf states, “Saudi Arabia and the UAE” and Israel in the face of the challenges of terrorism, the Iranian threat, and some adding Turkey. These threats have led to cooperation with Israel in the war on Iran and in finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The paper recommended the development of relations with the Arab countries hostile to Iran, and the transition of it from the security level to the political level taking in to consideration that the continuation of a relationship based on security alone threatens its sustainability, but the Palestinian issue is an obstacle in the way of making relations with the Arab world, and currently Riyadh , Washington and Tel Aviv are working together to find an agreed settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but the challenge is that the Palestinian Authority has not yet gained control over Gaza, and rejects the American and Saudi dictates, and the Palestinians have the means to thwart any action.

Fourth: The Palestinians.
This relationship with the Palestinian Authority should be maintained and strengthened, because security coordination serves the two sides. A deterioration in the relationship with the Palestinians requires to ring the strategic alarm where the role and influence of the PA is diminished. The matter is serious in the event of the absence of a successor to Abu Mazen and the absence of a political horizon for the Palestinians.
Hamas failed in everything, failed to manage the daily lives of the population, and today is trying to evade responsibility by turning the anger of the street to Israel, before exploding in the face of it , in this context , it runs the march of return to become more attractive to the Palestinians in the framework of a strategic game aimed at control On the PLO and on the Palestinian Authority and the street of the West Bank .
The real crisis in the Palestinian situation is that Abu Mazin can not rule in Gaza, and Hamas is not prepared to give up power in real terms, and both are indifferent to the future.

Strategic discussions and dialogues indicate that Israel is in a comfortable position this year to adopt new strategies and theories aimed at creating regional superiority, in large part due to American support, openness of relations and the compatibility of interests in certain aspects with Russia.

Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies