Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

Israel Foreign Policy

Israel is located in the Middle East, along the eastern coastline of the
Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It lies at the
junction of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Long and narrow in shape
the country is only 290 miles in length and 85 miles in width at its widest
point. Israel is a country of immigrants. Since its creation in 1948, the
population has increased seven-fold. Today, its over six million inhabitants
represent many different cultures and traditions, including Jews from Ethiopia,
Morocco, the Soviet Union, Europe and America. Jews from around the world have
immigrated to Israel and make up 80% of the Israeli population. The other 20% is
made up mostly of Arabs. (Encyclopedia Britannica) On May 14, 1948, immediately
following the proclamation of the state of Israel, President Harry S. Truman
extended recognition to the new state. This act marked the beginning of a
relationship based on common values and characterized by deep friendship,
economic support and mutual respect. The similarities between the two countries
are notable: both are vibrant democracies anchored in liberal traditions; both
began as pioneer societies; and both are still receiving and integrating new
immigrants. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, a region dominated
by authoritarian and military regimes. In a very unstable region of the world,
Israel stands out as the only country with regular, competitive elections, a
free press, and free speech. By supporting Israel, the U.S. stays true to its
historic national commitment to strengthen fellow democracies. In addition,
Israel is a reliable strategic partner in the fight against terrorism, the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by rogue regimes; state-sponsored
terrorism; the potential disruption of access to Middle East oil; and the spread
of Islamic radicalism. The U.S. Israeli partnership has also been cost
effective, avoiding the expensive deployment of American troops. No U.S. troops
have ever been required to protect Israel, while by comparison America maintains
135,000 troops in Europe and spends nearly $80 billion each year on the defense
of Europe.(Country Study, 234) Maintaining Israel’s military advantage has
proven an efficient way to ensure that American interests will prevail against
the forces of terror, authoritarianism, and extremism. Despite constant tensions
with Arab neighbors, border disputes, full-out war, terrorist threats, and a yet
unresolved Palestinian problem, the U.S. has remained loyal to Israel. America’s
long-standing commitment allows Israel to negotiate with its former and current
adversaries from a position of strength. Israel can take risks for peace only
because of unwavering American support; this support has also prodded Israel’s
Arab neighbors to deal directly with Israel. (JSOURCE) The Clinton
administration has played a key role in the Middle East peace process by
actively supporting the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s
peace treaty with Jordan, negotiations with Syria and efforts to promote
regional cooperation, including an end to the Arab boycott. Pledging to maintain
Israel’s qualitative edge, it has also committed itself to minimizing the
security risks that Israel might incur in its pursuit of peace. Moreover, the
United States has recently taken several important measures to back Israel in
its war against terrorism. The continuing and deepening amity between Israel and
the United States has been defined by various American administrations in terms
ranging from the preservation of Israel as a ‘basic tenet’ of American foreign
policy, with emphasis on a ‘special relationship’ between the two states, to a
declaration of an American commitment to Israel. (Country Study, 245) By the
early 1980s, Israel was regarded by the United States as a strategic asset and
was designated, in accordance with legislation passed the previous year, as a
major non-NATO ally. Congressional backing for Israel is bipartisan. Support for
annual military and economic assistance, the peace process and Israel’s struggle
against terrorism have been hallmarks of Congress’ commitment to United
States-Israel friendship, as was the passage of legislation (1995) recognizing
Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel and calling for the establishment of
the United States embassy in Jerusalem by May 1999. The special relationship
encompasses mutual economic, political, strategic and diplomatic concerns.

Israel currently receives some $3 billion a year in security and economic aid,
and bilateral trade has been enhanced by the Israel-United States Free Trade
Area Agreement (1985). (JSOURCE) A growing number of joint ventures sponsored by
Israeli and American industrial firms have been established, and several
American states have entered into ‘state-to-state’ agreements with Israel,
involving activities ranging from culture to agriculture. Israel has expressed
eagerness to share with the international community skills learned from its own
development experience: overcoming harsh climatic conditions, inadequate water
resources, decertification, disease and epidemics, and finding solutions to
socioeconomic problems. This desire led to the founding in 1958 of MASHAV – The
Center for International Cooperation within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

MASHAV is currently cooperating with 141 countries, authorities and
international agencies to promote technical cooperation programs in various
fields. Cooperation efforts include countries in Africa, Asia, the Commonwealth
of Independent States and Latin America. (Country Study, 285) It is Israel’s
fervent wish to maintain good relations with all countries, with their
governments and their peoples… (David Ben-Gufion, 1952) With memories of
centuries of persecution and the devastating experience of the Holocaust and the
decades-long Arab Israeli conflict, Israel’s foreign policy has been geared to
advance peace by resolving the Arab -Israeli conflict, while ensuring the
country’s security promoting cooperation with all nations. “Israeli foreign
policy is chiefly influenced by Israel’s strategic situation, the Arab-Israeli
conflict, and the rejection of Israel by most of the Arab states. The Goals of
Israeli policy are therefore to overcome diplomatic isolation and to achieve
recognition and friendly relations with as many nations as possible, both in the
middle east and beyond.” (Country Study, 230) Israel and Egypt signed a
peace treaty in 1979, marking the end of 30 years of relentless hostility and
five costly wars. The treaty was preceded by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s
visit to Jerusalem in 1977, at the invitation of Israel’s Prime Minister
Menachem Begin, as well as the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978, which
constituted a basis for peace between Egypt and Israel and between Israel and
its other neighbors. The accords also addressed the need to solve the
Palestinian issue, following a five-year interim phase of autonomy for the
Palestinian Arab residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza
Strip. President Sadat and Prime minister Begin were jointly awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize for their achievement. The peace implemented between Israel and
Egypt consists of several major elements, including the termination of the state
of war as well as acts or threats of belligerency, hostility or violence; the
establishment of diplomatic, economic and cultural ties; the removal of barriers
to trade and freedom of movement; and withdrawal by Israel from the Sinai
peninsula, with agreed security arrangements and limited force zones. Israel
completed its withdrawal from the Sinai in 1982 according to the terms of the
treaty, giving up strategic military bases and other assets in exchange for
peace. Although Egypt was ostracized by other Arab states following the signing
of the treaty, most have since reestablished relations with Egypt and reopened
their embassies in Cairo. The headquarters of the Arab League, which had been
transferred to Tunis, were reinstated in Cairo in the early 1980s. Having to
overcome 30 years of distrust and hostility, normalization of relations between
Israel and Egypt is a long and arduous process. Yet, embassies and consulates
have been established by both countries, and meetings between government
ministers and high-ranking officials take place regularly. Reciprocal visits of
businessmen and experts in various fields have also become commonplace. Airline
and bus routes operate daily between the two countries, and a decision to
establish a permanent joint committee for the development of tourism has been
reached. Scientific cooperation includes marine agriculture technology,
development of environmental protection resources, cancer research and joint
projects on the prevention of pollution in the Gulf of Eilat. Agricultural
cooperation is growing steadily; in 1995 alone more than 700 farmers from Egypt
took part in courses on agricultural subjects in Israel and on-the-spot courses
by Israeli experts in Egypt were attended by 300 participants. As the first
state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, Egypt assists in the ongoing
negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Since 1994, three North
African Arab states – Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia – have joined other Arab
countries and chosen to take the path of peace and reconciliation by forming
diplomatic ties with Israel. Initiated in different ways at various levels,
relations between Morocco and Israel were formalized when Israel opened a
liaison office in November of 1994 in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Four months
later, Morocco opened its office in Israel, thus formally establishing bilateral
diplomatic relations. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Israel concluded an
agreement at the Barcelona Conference in November 1995, in the presence of the
Spanish foreign minister, to establish interest sections in the Spanish
embassies in Tel Aviv and Nauakchott (the Mauritanian capital). Mauritania
opened its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv in May of 1996 and indicated its wish
to fully normalize relations with Israel. Following a timetable worked out by
Israel, Israel opened an interest office in Tunisia in April 1996, and Tunisia
reciprocated six weeks later. Diplomatic relations with the Maghreb countries
are especially important because of Israel’s large population of North African
emigres who retain an emotional attachment to the countries where their families
lived for many centuries. This affinity is an asset which may lead to more
profound relationships and make a practical contribution to the peace process.

As a result of the ongoing peace process in the Middle East, the Gulf States
have shown interest in relations with Israel for the first time since 1948.

Initial contacts were followed with a series of reciprocal visits by high-level
officials. In May 1996, Israel opened a trade representation office in Oman to
develop economic, scientific and trade relations, with emphasis on water
resources utilization, tourism, agriculture, chemicals and advanced
technologies, while Oman opened an office in Tel Aviv in August 1996. In May
1996, Israel set up a trade representation office in Qatar to facilitate
development of an ongoing economic and commercial relationship. Qatar is
expected to open a similar office in Israel to promote mutually beneficial
activities and projects. The State of Israel was admitted to the United Nations
as its 59th member on 11 May 1949. Since then, it has participated in a wide
range of UN operations and has endeavored to make its full contribution to UN
organizations dealing with health, labor, food and agriculture, education and
science. Israel plays an active role in the work of non-governmental
organizations, conducted under UN auspices, which deal with issues ranging from
aviation to immigration, from communications to meteorology, from trade to the
status of women. Some UN resolutions have been of crucial significance for
Israel, among them Security Council Resolutions providing an agreed framework
for settling the Arab-Israel dispute. Over the years, the UN has been active in
bringing about a cessation of hostilities between Israel and its Arab neighbors
by appointing mediators, extending UN auspices to cease-fire and armistice
agreements and stationing UN forces between the adversaries.

Background Notes: Israel Dec. 1998: SIRS Government Reporter. CD-ROM. SIRS
Mandarin, Inc. Spring 1999. “Closing the Window on Peace.” Mideast
Mirror April 2000: ProQuest. Bell and Howell Proquest. Bishop O’Dowd High School
Library. 18 April 2000.

Dubois, Jill. Israel. New York, 1995. “Israel and the Occupied
Territories.” U.S. Department of State 2000. 17 April 2000.

“Israel in the UN, uneasy relationship” Israel Embasy 2000 16 April

Jones, Helen H. Israel. Chicago, 1986. Kurian, George Thomas. New Book of World
Rankings. 3rd ed. New York-. Facts on File, 1991. Metz, Helen Chapin, ed.

Israel, a Country StuOy. DA: United State Government, 1990. Meyers, Stven Lee.

“US Seeks to Curb Israeli Arms Sales to China Air Force.” New York
Times 1 1 May 1999-. New York Times Ondisk. CD-ROM. UMI Company.Spring 1999.


I'm Belinda!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out