The long view: Netanyahu near the Egyptian-Israeli border, January 2010.
ARIEL JEROZOLIMSKI – POOL / GETTY IMAGES

Israeli national security strategy can seem baffling. Many observers in the United States and Europe, for example, wonder how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have warned for years that Iran’s nuclear program posed an existential threat to Israel yet has balked at the international community’s attempts to defang it. By raising concerns about the nuclear deal between Iran and five great powers without offering a convincing alternative, Netanyahu has appeared to oppose any solution at all. Instead, as Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, said in July, Netanyahu is acting as though he would prefer a “permanent state of standoff” with Tehran. 

Nor do Israeli leaders seem to have a clear answer in mind for how to solve the country’s conflict with the Palestinians. The country faces nearly universal opprobrium for its occupation of the West Bank and the looming possibility that it will have to

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  • NATAN SACHS is a Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy and the author of the forthcoming book Does Israel Have a Plan? Follow him on Twitter @natansachs.
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