DECISION MAKING AND SECURITY POLICY

Question

Yoram Peri (2006), Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, United States Institute of Peace Press. Pp. 3-76. This book can be read online: 
http://books.google.co.il/books?id=2pcjEhRZRLsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Charles Freilich (2006), “National Security Decision-Making in Israel: Processes, Pathologies, and Strengths,” Middle East Journal, 60(4): 635-663.
Cohen, A. and Cohen, S. (2011). “Israel and international humanitarian law: between the neorealism of state security and the ‘soft power’ of legal acceptability,” Israel Studies, 16(2): 1-23. 
Optional:
Chazan, Meir (2009). “Mapai and the Arab-Jewish Conflict, 1936-1939”, Israel Studies Forum, Vol. 24; pp 28-51. 
summary of all the readings that I will assign, I NEED IT TO BE COVER <br /> ALL THE MAIN IDEAS AND TO BE NEAT.. go through the readings carefully <br />

Answer

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23 November 2014.

Cohen, Amichai and Stuart A. Cohen “Israel and international humanitarian law: Between the neorealism of state security and the ‘soft power’ of legal acceptability.” Israel Studies, 16, no. 2 (2011): 1-23.

            This paper examines the mindset within which changes in Israel’s attitude towards international law have been occurring since the nation was established. The main argument in the paper is that even when her security has been at stake, Israel has sought to demonstrate its sensitivity to the requirements of international law. The paper compares the country’s behavior in the face of aggression by her hostile neighbors during its formative years of statehood and the behavioral changes that occurred when similar challenges arose in later years.[1] In the early years, priority was on gaining legitimacy as a state.

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            In recent years, national security affairs and strategies have been directed towards diffusing the process of decision-making as well as promoting the influence of various institutions’ political life.[2] To explain this observation, the paper explores how the IDF has responded to accusations of international law violations through targeted killings of perceived enemies. In conclusion, the authors paint an image of a country (Israel) that uses soft power to gain legal acceptability and at the same time embraces neo-realism to conduct its state-security business.

Peri, Yoram. Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006, Pp. 3-76.

The first four chapters of the book address the issue of the Israeli military and how it relates to civilian aspects of the country, including policy, politics, and the country’s geostrategic position. In the first chapter, the author examines the difficult question of how the IDF is the most powerful organization in Israel yet it has all along remained under civilian control. Peri concludes that the level of civilian control of the military has not yet reached levels that may be considered acceptable in a democratic society.

The second chapter addresses the shift that occurred during the 1990s following the intifada. During the intifada, the PLO indicated its willingness to recognize the existence of the state of Israel, albeit under certain conditions. This led to a change in Israeli geostrategic thinking. It was also contributed to by the Israeli military. The political events of the late 1980s and early 1990s led the Israeli military to opine that although it was capable of quelling violence by Palestinians in occupied territories, only a political solution would bring about lasting peace.[3]

In the third chapter, Peri argues that since security is a major factor in Israel’s existence, the military is inevitably involved in the country’s political affairs. Evidence of the political influence of the military is already in the public domain. For example, the parliamentary committee that is responsible for the country’s foreign affairs is also responsible for defense. The fourth chapter explains the various ways in which the mode of operation of the military leads to the exertion of tremendous influence on policy planning. The author gives the example of the military involvement in the Oslo peace process to demonstrate the influence of the IDF on Israeli political affairs. At some point, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was worried that the IDF was responsible for the decrease in the pace of the Oslo peace talks by revealing their existence to the Israeli public.

Freilich, Charles. “National Security Decision-Making in Israel: Processes, Pathologies, and Strengths.” Middle East Journal, 60, no. 4 ((2006): 635-663.

            In this paper, the main argument is that decision-making in Israel unfolds in an unusually complex, volatile external environment that is fraught with numerous dangers. Other than the volatile external environment, extreme politicization of the process of making policy decisions are also discussed. A major strength in this whole situation is that the electoral system provides a viable framework for proportional representation in the political process.[4] A major weakness is that decision-making capabilities at the cabinet-level do not function as effectively as they should.

Chazan, Meir. “Mapai and the Arab-Jewish Conflict, 1936-1939.” Israel Studies Forum, 24 (2009): 28-51. 

This paper examines the role of Mapai in the bloody conflict between Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine. The author contends that Mapaidelegitimized and dehumanized Arabs during the conflict, leading to the deterioration of the existing socio-economic tensions between Arabs and Jews. With no end of the conflict in sight, the Arab-Jewish encounter took on a national character, leading to the rapid growth of the Arab nationalist movement.[5] The influence of Labor movement leaders within the Jewish community is also examined. It emerges that these leaders were at the forefront in shaping perceptions towards Arabs and pushing for the establishment of a Jewish state.

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Arab leaders responded by rebutting Jewish leaders’ claim that they were savages. The ensuing accusations and counteraccusations brought relations between the two communities to a dead end. The author concludes that this conflict greatly diminished the possibility of Jews and Arabs living together in cultural harmony, such that to perceive such coexistence in the post-conflict era is to promote rhetoric that is detached from the prevailing political reality.

References

Cohen, Amichai and Stuart A. Cohen “Israel and international humanitarian law: Between the neorealism of state security and the ‘soft power’ of legal acceptability.” Israel Studies, 16, no. 2 (2011): 1-23.

Peri, Yoram. Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006, Pp. 3-76.

Freilich, Charles. “National Security Decision-Making in Israel: Processes, Pathologies, and Strengths.” Middle East Journal, 60, no. 4 (2006): 635-663.

Chazan, Meir. “Mapai and the Arab-Jewish Conflict, 1936-1939.” Israel Studies Forum, 24 (2009): 28-51. 

Dror, Yehezkel. Improving Policymaking and Administration in Israel. Tel Aviv: SifriatHaminhal,1978), p. 158.


[1]AmichaiCohen and Stuart A. Cohen, “Israel and international humanitarian law: Between the neorealism of state security and the ‘soft power’ of legal acceptability.” Israel Studies, 16, no. 2 (2011): 2.

[2]YehezkelDror, Improving Policymaking and Administration in Israel (Tel Aviv: SifriatHaminhal, 1978), 158.

[3]YoramPeri, Generals in the Cabinet Room: How the Military Shapes Israeli Policy, (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006), 34.

[4]Freilich Charles, “National Security Decision-Making in Israel: Processes, Pathologies, and Strengths.” Middle East Journal, 60, no. 4 (2006): 644.

[5]Meir Chazan, “Mapai and the Arab-Jewish Conflict, 1936-1939.” Israel Studies Forum, 24 (2009): 38.

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