'Interim solutions are best bet for regional stability'

2009 Strategic Assessment for Israel: Country facing a number of challenges and threats that cannot be completely solved in the near future.

Israel is facing a number of challenges and threats - ranging from Iran to Hamas - that cannot be completely solved in the near future and the country can only hope to reach interim solutions that will temporarily stabilize the Middle East, according to the 2009 Strategic Assessment for Israel released for publication on Wednesday by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. "The most we can hope for are interim temporary solutions that will partially stabilize the situation and leave hope that conditions will exist in the future to progress towards comprehensive long-term solutions," according to a section of the report written by Oded Eran, director of INSS. According to the report, countries in the region are continuing to procure advanced weaponry at a startling pace. Between 2004 and 2007, Middle Eastern countries spent over $65 billion on advanced weaponry in comparison to $33b. between the years 2000 and 2003. Israel and Egypt, the report warns, could face cuts to the foreign military aid they receive from the United States due to the global financial crisis. The report notes that the United Arab Emirates has in recent years established a strong defense industry that is mostly owned by the government and develops a number of platforms including rapid-patrol naval ships. The think tank also played down the current disagreements between the US and Israel with regards to settlement construction. "For the past 50 years there have always been disagreements between Israel and the US except maybe during the Johnston administration," Eran said. "This is part of the relationship between the countries."