Accession Number : ADA560391
Title : Israel: Background and U.S. Relations
Descriptive Note : Congressional rept.
Corporate Author : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Personal Author(s) : Addis, Casey L
Report Date : 14 Feb 2011
Pagination or Media Count : 45
Abstract : On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence and was immediately engaged in a war with all of its neighbors. Armed conflict has marked every decade of Israel's existence. Despite its unstable regional environment, Israel has developed a vibrant parliamentary democracy, albeit with relatively fragile governments. The most recent national elections were held on February 10, 2009, ahead of schedule. Although the Kadima Party placed first, parties holding 65 seats in the 120-seat Knesset supported opposition Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who was designated to form a government. Since 1948, the United States and Israel have developed a close friendship based on common democratic values, religious affinities, and security interests. U.S.-Israeli bilateral relations are multidimensional. The United States is the principal proponent of the Arab-Israeli peace process, but U.S. and Israeli views differ on some issues, such as the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and settlements. Israel and the Bush Administration enjoyed particularly close relations. The latter and Congress supported Israel's 2006 military campaigns against Hezbollah and Hamas and Israel's 2008/2009 offensive against Hamas as acts of self-defense. Shortly after taking office in January 2009, President Obama stated that he considers Israel to be a strong ally of the United States. Yet relations have sometimes appeared strained as Administration officials and the Netanyahu government have differed markedly over how to resume the peace process. The United States and Israel concluded a free-trade agreement in 1985. Israel is among the leading recipients of U.S. foreign aid and the two countries also have close security relations. Other issues in U.S.-Israeli relations include Israel's military sales to third parties, inadequate Israeli protection of U.S. intellectual property, and espionage-related cases.
Descriptors : *FOREIGN POLICY , *GEOPOLITICS , *GOVERNMENT(FOREIGN) , *INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS , *ISRAEL , *POLITICAL ALLIANCES , *UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT , AGREEMENTS , COOPERATION , DEMOCRACY , EGYPT , ELECTIONS , ESPIONAGE , EUROPEAN UNION , FOREIGN AID , HISTORY , INSTABILITY , IRAN , ISRAELIS , JORDAN , LEBANON , NATURAL GAS , NEGOTIATIONS , PALESTINIANS , POLITICAL PARTIES , SYRIA , TURKEY
Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE