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