Israel: Background and Relations with the United States [June 14, 2006]   [open pdf - 133KB]

"Israel's foreign policy is focused largely on its region, Europe, and the United States. The government views Iran as an existential threat due to its nuclear ambitions and support for anti-Israel terrorists. Israel negotiated a series of agreements with the Palestinians in the 1990s, but the Oslo peace process ended in 2000, after the beginning of the intifadah or uprising against Israeli occupation. Israeli and Palestinian officials resumed contacts after the November 2004 death of Yasir Arafat. Both sides accepted but have not implemented the 'Roadmap,' the international framework for achieving a two-state solution to their conflict. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in summer 2005 and is constructing a security barrier in the West Bank to separate from the Palestinians. The victory of the Hamas terrorist group in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections has complicated Israeli-Palestinian relations and led Israeli officials to consider unilateral steps in the West Bank. Israel concluded a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994, but never reached accords with Syria and Lebanon. It unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000. European countries collectively are Israel's second largest trading partner, and the EU participates in the peace process."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33476
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