Bulgaria–Israel relations: Wikis

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Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem
King Hussein, Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin, Israel-Jordan peace treaty
Tzipi Livni and French foreign minister Douste-Blazy
Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian president Vladimir Putin

The foreign relations of Israel refers to diplomatic relations and international agreements between the State of Israel and other countries around the world. Israel joined the United Nations on May 11, 1949. Today, Israel has diplomatic ties with 157 foreign countries.[1] Since 1967, diplomatic relations have been established with several Arab and Muslim countries. After signing peace treaties, Israel maintains full diplomatic relations and open borders with Egypt and Jordan.

Contents

Diplomatic relations

World map showing status of Israel's international relations

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish state experienced diplomatic isolation and Arab League boycotts. Currently Israel has diplomatic relations with 163 countries.

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No recognition or diplomatic relations

Israel has no diplomatic relations with 37 countries, 20 of them members of the 22-member Arab League. Some of the countries, with which Israel has no diplomatic relations, accept Israeli passports and acknowledge other Israeli marks of sovereignty. Period of former relations marked in brackets.

On January 14, 2009, Bolivia and Venezuela suspended diplomatic ties with Israel and on January 16, 2009, Qatar and Mauritania suspended political and economic ties after Bashar al-Assad and Khaled Meshaal called on all Arab states to break ties with the Jewish state in the wake of the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict. On March 6, 2009, the Israeli diplomatic delegation to Mauritania left after nine years of diplomatic ties, following a demand from the Mauritanian authorities to close the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott within 48 hours.[9] The Mauritanian delegation to Israel left earlier without sending official notice to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[10]

The following UN members do not recognize Israel as a state:[11]Afghanistan,[12] Algeria,[13] Bahrain,[14] Bangladesh,[15] Chad,[16] Cuba, Indonesia, Iran,[17] Iraq,[18] Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya,[19] Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates[20] and Yemen.

Partial recognition and/or trade agreements

Comoros has no official diplomatic ties with Israel but the countries engage in mutual trade.[21] In October 2000, Israeli diplomatic missions in Bahrain, Morocco and Oman were closed, although trade and economic ties continue. Israeli tourism to Morocco is warmly welcomed.[22] Israeli citizens are admitted into North Korea with Israeli passports, but like other foreign visitors they are asked to deposit their passport with the local authorities and use specially issued local documents for tourists.[23] Since 2004, Israel has exported apples to Syria through the Quneitra crossing. In 2010, some 10,000 tons of apples grown by Druze farmers in the Golan Heights have been sent to Syria.[24]

Africa

Angola

Relations between Israel and Angola are based on trade and foreign policy. In March 2006, the trade volume between the two countries amounted to $400 million. The Israeli ambassador to Angola is Avraham Benjamin. In 2005, President José Eduardo dos Santos visited Israel.

Eritrea

Eritrea developed relations with Israel shortly after gaining its independence in 1993, despite protests among Arab countries. Israeli-Eritrean relations are close, and Israeli officers possibly helped lead Eritrean troops in the Hanish Islands during the Hanish Islands conflict with Yemen. The president of Eritrea has visited Israel for medical treatment.[25] However, Eritrea condemned Israeli military action during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict.[26]

Ethiopia

In Africa, Ethiopia is Israel's main and closest ally in the continent due to common political , religious and security interests.[27] Many towns in Ethiopia are named after biblical Israel settlements, including Ethiopia's third largest city of Nazret (Adama). Israel also provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) live in Israel.

Kenya

Diplomatic relations were established in December 1963. Israel has an embassy in Nairobi and Kenya has an embassy in Tel Aviv. In 2003, Kenya requested Israel's help in developing a national solar energy program.[28] In 2006, Israel sent an 80-person search-and-rescue team to Kenya to save people trapped in rubble when a multistory building collapsed.[29] Following the Kenyan presidential election, 2007 Israel donated medicine to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.[30]

South Africa

Relations between Israel and the Union of South Africa were established as early as 1948, the Nationalist Prime Minister Daniel François Malan paying a visit to Israel and "forgetting" about the clearly antisemitic profile his own party earned during the 1930s and by its opposition to joining in the Anti-Hitlerite coalition in World War II. After the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, Israel became one of the loudest critics of South African apartheid regime, which, along with Israel's intensive cooperation with the newly independent Sub-Saharan states, brought about a break in relations with Pretoria. After 1967, and particularly in the 1970s, Israel became Pretoria's strategic partner. Israel joined the West in the late 1980s in boycotting South Africa before the collapse of apartheid. Relations between modern-day Israel and South Africa are increasingly warm, although South Africa has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

Togo

In May 2009, Israel and Togo signed a "pact for cooperation in the economic, agricultural and educational fields" with each other.[31]

Uganda

In a joint Israeli-Ugandan project, a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Agriculture conducted a survey of Lake Victoria with a Ugandan colleague from Makerere University. They found that Nile perch, introduced by the British sixty years ago, have decimated native fish populations, leading to malnutrition in the lakeside communities.[32] She helped to set up artificial fish ponds to raise carp, which had disappeared from the local diet. The United States Agency for International Development sponsored the digging of the ponds and sent villagers to Kibbutz HaMa'apil in Emek Hefer to learn spawning techniques. Graduates of the training program established carp farms.[32]

Zimbabwe

Abel Muzorewa, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, visited Israel on October 21, 1983. He urged Robert Mugabe to establish diplomatic relations, saying his political policies hurt Zimbabwe's agriculture and technology industries. In March 2002 an Israeli company sold riot control vehicles to the Mugabe government, shortly before the nation's 2002 elections.[33]

Arab and Islamic countries

Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat at Camp David

On October 1, 1994, the Persian Gulf states publicly announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, in effect abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel. Israel has diplomatic relations with 9 non-Arab Muslim states and with 39 of the 43 Sub-Saharan African states that are not members of the Arab League.

Djibouti

Relations with Israel improved during 1995. After a meeting between officials in September, plans were announced to open liaison offices in the countries´ capitals, prior to the possible establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states.[34]

Egypt

Israel has full diplomatic relations with Egypt since the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979.

Jordan

Israel has full diplomatic relations with Jordan since the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace in 1994.

Iraq

Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, diplomats had been discussing the possibility of improved relations between Israel and Iraq. However, then-Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi said in 2004 that Iraq would not establish ties with Israel.[35]

Saudi Arabia

In 2005, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its ban on Israeli goods and services, mostly due to its application to the World Trade Organization, where one member country cannot have a total ban on another. However, as of August 2006, the Saudi boycott was not cancelled.[36][37][38]

Morocco

Israel maintained close ties with Morocco's King Hassan II. When he died in 1999, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and the Moroccan-born foreign minister, David Levy, flew to Rabat for his funeral.[39]

Asia

Afghanistan

Despite being a close ally of the United States, Afghanistan has no relations with Israel and has criticized its existence several times. Along with neighboring ally Iran, Afghans consider Israel an enemy state. In the wake of the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict, 50,000 Afghans signed up in Kabul as a symbolic gesture to fight the Israelis.[40] Chants of "death to Israel" rang through the streets of the Afghan capital Kabul for a week.[40] Many Afghans lined up to donate blood to Palestinians, even though their own country is very poor as well.[40] In January 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel's invasion of Gaza a massacre "barbaric like the Communist invasion (of 1979)."[40]

Armenia

Since independence, Armenia has received support from Israel and today remains one of its major trade partners. While both countries have diplomatic relations, neither maintains an embassy in the other country. Instead, Ehud Moshe Eytam, the Israeli ambassador to Armenia is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visits the capital Yerevan twice a month. Israel has recognized 10 Armenians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, but does not recognize the Armenian Genocide.[41]

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are good, and Israel has an embassy in Baku. In May 1999, the U.S.-Azerbaijan Council sponsored a seminar to discuss relations among Azeris, Jews, and Israel. In April 2000, an Israeli trade delegation visited Baku to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral economic relations.

Many Azerbaijanis express the hope that friendship with Israel may help to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and expedite Azerbaijan's integration with the West.[citation needed] The Azerbaijan-Israel Friendship Society facilitates and promotes bilateral diplomatic and business links. In October 2001, President Aliyev pledged to open an embassy in Israel and send his Foreign Minister to visit the country. Although neither has occurred, Azerbaijani-Israeli strategic cooperation continues to grow.

For many years, Azerbaijan has maintained high rates of immigration to Israel due to the economic and political situation in the country. In 2002, 475 Jews made aliyah and 111 immigrated to the United States. The Azeri government gets regular updates from Israel regarding Azeri Jews in Israel, who are plagued by unemployment, crime, and other social issues as new immigrants in Israel.[42]

Bangladesh

Although Israel was one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh (4 February 1972) upon its independence; Bangladesh does not recognise Israel as legitimate and officially forbids its citizens to travel to Israel by putting 'Valid for travel to all countries except Israel" on Bangladeshi passports. Bangladesh follows the same policy as other Muslim states supporting an independent Palestinian state and an end to the occupation. Because there is an absence of ties, there is no economic relations between the two states and Bangladesh has a complete ban on Israel, ranging from travel, trade (direct and indirect) and other sectors of bilateral relations.

China

On January 9, 1950, the Israeli government extended recognition to the People's Republic of China, but diplomatic relations were not established until January 1992.

Israel has provided China with technological assistance in the areas of advanced agriculture and irrigation. Bilateral R&D projects, supported by the China-Israel Agricultural Research Fund, are focused on the development of new varieties of fruit and vegetables, agricultural biotechnology and applying modern technologies for processing fresh produce. Israel has built three major demonstration farms in China and several training centers which are supported by both Chinese and Israeli ministries of agriculture.

Israel has also provided China with military assistance, expertise and technology. According to a report from the US-China Security Review Commission, "Israel ranks second only to Russia as a weapons system provider to China and as a conduit for sophisticated military technology, followed by France and Germany." Israel was ready to sell China the Phalcon, an Israeli airborne early-warning radar system (AWACS), until the United States forced it to cancel the deal.[43][44]

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, cultural exchange has been a major component of the bilateral relations, as both sides recognise the importance of creating a strong foundation based on their ancient and rich histories.[45] In 2007, China launched a countrywide "Festival of Culture" in Israel to mark 15 years of relations.[46]

Georgia

Relations between Israel and Georgia are currently relatively close.[47] Georgia's former defense minister from 2006 to 2008, Davit Kezerashvili, had previously lived in Israel. Israel has been selling weapons to Georgia for seven years financed by grants from the USA[47] Included in these weapons are Israeli-built spy drones provided through the former mayor of Tel Aviv, Roni Milo. Israeli advisors, estimated to number between 100 - 1,000, have trained the Georgian military for some time.[47]

Haiti

Haiti and Israel maintain full diplomatic relations. In 1947, Haiti voted for the UN Partition Plan and the creation of the State of Israel.[48]

Haitian president Francois Duvalier meets Israeli ambassador Yoel Bar-Roni, 1963

India

India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become Israel's strongest ally in Asia.[49][50] The two countries cooperate in anti-terrorist activities in the Middle East and Southern Asia. Israel is India's largest arms provider and India is Israel's principal arms market, and the trade volume between the two countries has increased significantly in the past few years.[51] Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites.

Israel and India share intelligence on terrorist groups. They have developed close defense and security ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1991. Israel is India's biggest arms supplier, overtaking Russia in 2009. India has bought more than $5 billion worth of Israeli equipment since 2002. In addition, Israel is training Indian military units and discussing an arrangement to give Indian commandos instruction in counter-terrorist tactics and urban warfare.[52] In December 2008, Israel and India signed a memorandum to set up an Indo-Israel Legal Colloquium to facilitate discussions and exchange programs between judges and jurists of the two countries.[53]

Iran

Iranian minister Saffinia visiting home of Israeli president Chaim Weizmann, 1950

Relations between Israel and Iran have alternated from close political alliances between the two states during the era of the Pahlavi dynasty to hostility following the rise to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. While Iran was the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel,[54] the two states do not currently have diplomatic relations with each other, due to Iran's withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. The post-1979 Iranian authorities avoid referring to Israel by its name, and instead use the terms "the Zionist regime" or "occupied Palestine". Iranian passports bear the inscription: "the bearer of this passport is forbidden from traveling to occupied Palestine."[55] Comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad[56] were perceived by Israel as threat of destruction.[57][58][59][60]

A large population of Iranian Jews reside in Israel, among them former President of Israel Moshe Katsav, former Chief of Staff / Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and former Chief of staff Dan Halutz.

Maldives

Relations between Israel and Maldives were not very strong until the new government of the Maldives came into power in 2008. From 1978 to 2008 there were no official relations between Israel and the Maldives. Despite public criticism, the current Maldivian government has decided to initiate relations between both countries. Maldives is a small country that needs financial support in difficult economic times and it hopes to get a hand from Israel to recover. Maldivies has accused previous allies like Iraq and Libya of misleading and exploiting Maldives. Being one of the few entirely Muslim states in the world, Maldives is criticising former Arab allies like Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt and cementing the relationship between Israel.

Burma

Burma (otherwise known as Myanmar) was one of the first countries to recognize Israel (first in Southeast Asia) and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Burma has also become one of Israel's strongest allies in the region, in terms of both technical assistance and also the much debated and rumored military links. Premiers from both sides such as U Nu and David Ben-Gurion made state visits to each others' countries in the 1950s.[61] [62] Burma sends agriculture researchers to Israel for training. This was further cemented in Israel's aid assistance during the Cyclone Nargis disaster of May 2008.

Pakistan

Pakistan has stated it will not recognize the State of Israel until a Palestinian nation-state is created. In 2003, President Pervez Musharraf raised the issue of possible diplomatic relations with Israel,[63] and in 2005 the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks for the first time.[64] However, following the meeting Musharraf said Pakistan will not recognise the state of Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established,[65] - although, according to Musharraf, Pakistan will eventually recognise Israel.[66]

Japan

On May 15, 1952, diplomatic relations were established with Japan at a Legation level. However, the Japanese government refrained from appointing a Minister Plenipotentiary to Israel until 1955. Relations between the two states were distant at first, but after 1958, no break occurred, despite the Arab oil embargo on several countries, including Japan.

Philippines

On November 29, 1947, the Philippines (a U.S. territory until 1946) was the only Asian nation to support the partition resolution at the United Nations General Assembly recommending a Jewish State in Palestine.[67] Israel and the Philippines established full diplomatic relationships in 1957. Embassies were opened in Tel-Aviv and Manila in 1962. The two countries have enjoyed warm relations in all spheres. In 1997, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) institutionalizing the bilateral political dialogue between the respective foreign ministries. The political dialog is accompanied by cooperation in trade and economy, culture, technical assistance, science, academic exchanges, tourism etc. There are between 37,155-50,000 Filipino workers in Israel as of 2004.[68][69]

Nepal

Israel-Nepal relations, first established in 1960, are based on mutual security concerns.[70] Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal from 1959 to 1960, had a strongly pro-Israel foreign policy. King Mahendra visited Israel in 1963 and maintained Koirala's special relationship.[71]

Singapore

Singapore and Israel have strong bilateral ties and have enjoyed close relations from the outset. This is in part due to both countries' perceptions of themselves as regional economic powerhouses surrounded by much larger Islamic countries with which they have an uneasy relationship. During Singapore's sudden independence (as a consequence of being expelled from Malaysia), Singapore appealed to the international community for technical assistance and military aid. Israel send over a mission to jumpstart Singapore's economy and create, from scratch, Singapore's armed forces and its Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the former modeled after the IDF in both doctrine and order of battle.

Today both countries have extensive economic ties and engage in a high volume of trade, with an emphasis on technology and research and development in the spheres of bio-technology and defense.

Israel's national airline El Al does not fly to Singapore as Singapore is located in the region of Indonesia and Malaysia both of which are hostile to Israel and do not allow overflight rights for Israeli aircraft.

Israel has had diplomatic representation in Singapore since its earliest days, with representation formalised in 1968. Singapore is a regional hub for Israeli businesses, while a growing number of members of both business communities seek opportunities for joint ventures in biotechnology, IT and the software industries.

Several bilateral agreements provide a solid framework for cooperation in areas such as healthcare, defence, and technological research & development. Most recently, in 1997, a bi-national fund for financing new technological products was set up, an indicator of deepening bilateral relations between both states.

Cultural exchanges have been accentuated by encouraging the participation of Israeli artists in international events in Singapore, cultivating a broad interest in Israeli performing arts. The yearly Film Festival has grown to become a cornerstone in the structured framework of activities.[72]

Thailand

Thailand and Israel have had full diplomatic relations since 23 June 1954. The Israeli embassy was opened in 1958 while the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv only opened in 1996. Since the beginning, both countries have enjoyed strong ties and beneficial bilateral cooperation in many fields, most notably in agriculture and education. Thousands of Thai academics have been sent to train in Israel while many Thai schools have been modeled after Israel's experience and know-how with aid from Mashav.

State visits by Thai royalty to Israel have been reciprocated by Israel's public figures as well as over 100,000 Israeli tourists visiting Thailand in 2003. Thousands of skilled and unskilled Thai workers are also employed in Israel and many Thai students study in Israel.

There is also a Thai-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Israel Friendship Foundation as well as a small community of Israelis living in Thailand. [73]

Vietnam

Vietnam and Israel established diplomatic relations on July 12, 1993. Israel opened its resident Embassy in Hanoi in December 1993.[74] The first Vietnamese ambassador to Israel presented his credentials on July 8, 2009.[75] Since the establishment of diolomatic relations, the two countries have frequently conducted reciprocal visits at various levels, and have strengthened ties in such fields as business, education, culture, technological cooperation and agriculture. The visits arranged by the Israeli government included those of delegations comprising entrepreneurs and businessmen, academic groups, journalists, artists and musicians, legal workers, and so on.[76]

Europe

Cyprus

Israel has had diplomatic relations with Cyprus since Israel's independence in 1948, when Cyprus was a British protectorate. Israel and Cyprus’ associations have continued to expand since 1960, the year of Cyprus’ independence. The neighboring countries trade regularly and there are high flows of tourism between them. However, Cypriot politicians have frequently spoken out against Israeli military raids in the Palestinian territories as well as the 2006 Lebanon War, during which Cyprus was forced to manage a heavy flow of refugees and aid out of and in to Lebanon.[77]

Czech Republic

Israel and the Czech Republic share a special relationship. Czechoslovakia was the only country to send aid to Israel in its early years e.g. arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–1949.

In December 2008 the Czech Air Force wanted to train in desert conditions for the upcoming mission in Afghanistan. No country agreed to help, except Israel. Israel saw it as an opportunity to thank the Czechs for training Israeli pilots when the country was first established.[78]

France

In the early 1950s, France and Israel maintained close political and military ties as common enemies of Pan-Arab nationalism. France was Israel's main weapons supplier until its withdrawal from Algeria in 1966 removed most common interest from the relationship, and France became increasingly critical of Israel.[79] This new reality became clear when, in the crisis leading up to the Six-Day War in June 1967, Charles de Gaulle's government imposed an arms embargo on the region, mostly affecting Israel, which had relied on France for weapons over the previous decade.[80] Under François Mitterrand in the early 1980s, French-Israeli relations improved greatly. Mitterrand was the first French president to visit Israel while in office.[81] In 1967, after the Six Day War, 5,300 French Jews immigrated to Israel.[82]

Germany

Israel and Germany maintain a "special relationship" based on shared beliefs, Western values and a combination of historical perspectives.[83] Among the most important factors in their relations is Nazi Germany's role in the genocide of European Jews during the Holocaust.[84]

Germany is a prime supplier of arms to Israel, including Dolphin submarines. The military co-operation has been discreet but mutually profitable: Israeli intelligence, for example, sent captured Warsaw Pact armour to West Germany to be analysed. The results aided the German development of an anti-tank system.[85]

Greece

Both Greece and Turkey recognized the State of Israel in the late 1940s, but were diplomatically represented in Tel Aviv on lower-than-embassy levels. Greek-Israeli relations improved in 1995. Trade doubled between 1989 and 1995. That year Israel exported $200 million worth of chemicals and oil products to Greece and imported $150 million worth of cement, food, and building materials. Israel is the second largest importer of Greek products in the Middle East.

A Greek-Israeli cooperation agreement on military affairs was concluded as early as December 1994 (predating the Turkish-Israeli agreement of February 1996); however, both sides refrained from activating the agreement. Greece was apparently concerned about alienating the Arab world while Israel did not wish to upset the Turks. Greece and Israel agreed to hold joint naval maneuvers at the end of the summer 1997, but they were indefinitely postponed by the Greeks. The reason given for the postponement was that the Greek navy was busy preventing infiltrations from Albania, and it could not spare a frigate for the exercises.[86]

Holy See

Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Vatican opposed Zionist policies and objectives in Palestine. In 1947, during discussions at the United Nations about the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the Vatican supported the internationalization of Jerusalem, in order to keep the holy places away from either Israeli or Arab sovereignty. In October 1948, as the 1948 Arab–Israeli War was in progress, Pope Pius XII, deeply disturbed by that violent conflict, issued the encyclical "In Multiplicibus Curis", in which he called on the peace-makers to give Jerusalem and its outskirts "an international character" and to assure - "with international guarantees" - freedom of access and worship at the holy places scattered throughout Palestine. In April 1949, he issued the encyclical "Redemptoris Nostri Cruciatus", in which he appealed for justice for the Palestinian refugees and repeated his call for an "international status" as the best form of protection for the holy places.

In January 1964, Pope Paul VI visited Israel, the first such Papal visit.

Following the Six Day War, the Vatican modified its position on the holy places. In an address to the College of Cardinals in December 1967, Pope Paul VI called for a "special statute, internationally guaranteed" for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, thus changing the previous demand for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

Diplomatic relations between the Israeli government and the Vatican were established in 1994, following the conclusion of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel, signed on 30 December 1993. An important organ in these relations is the Israel-Vatican Bilateral Commission, established under article 10 of the Agreement to resolve economic issues between the parties.

In March 2000, Pope John Paul II visited Israel. In May 2009, Pope Benedict XVI held an official visit to Israel.

The bilateral commission convened on 30 April 2009 and 10 December 2009.[87]

Ireland

Full diplomatic relations between Ireland and Israel were established in 1975.[88] In 2006, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland was Zion Evrony,[89] and the Irish ambassador to Israel was Michael Forbes.[90]

The Irish government followed a similar line to other EU governments during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, with the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, condemning the actions of Israel as "reckless and disproportionate" and calling for an immediate ceasefire on both sides, while also condemning the actions of Hezbollah.[91] During the conflict, a shipment of bombs that attempted to land in Ireland from USA to Tel Aviv was denied use of Irish airspace and airfields by the Irish Government. The weapons were part of a series of agreed arms shipments between the United States Government and Israel. The shipments were diverted via Scotland, where they also caused controversy.[92]

Italy

Relations between Italy and Israel remain strong, with frequent diplomatic exchanges and a large volume of trade. The Israeli Government has followed with great attention the fight against international terrorism pursued by the Italian Government (also in the European arena: the decision of Riva del Garda to insert Hamas in the European list of organizations considered as terrorist). It has also been appreciated what the Italian Presidency has done in the framework of the United Nations on the Middle Eastern issues. Israel also welcomed the coherent and firm line of conduct, in contrasting the emergence of anti-Semitism in every possible form taken by the Italian government.

Italian culture enjoys a very high standing in Israel with Israelis frequently visiting Italy for education, work, tourism, and scientific and artistic exchanges. In the last ten years 105 books of Italian authors were translated from Italian to Hebrew. A strong community of Italian Jews who have immigrated to Israel have strengthened cultural ties and promoted Italian culture in the country. The Italian Cultural Institute recently initiated and organized a series of activities in the Cultural Center of the Jews of Libyan Origin in Or Yehuda, where recently a course of the Italian language has been launched.

The Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute recently stimulated the creation of a Friends of Italy association which consists of more than 15,000 people. In 2004 the negotiations for the new triennial protocol (2004–2007) of the Bilateral Accord in the Cultural Sector in force as of November 1971. The Italian Cultural Institute operates in Israel as of 1960 with its principal office at Tel Aviv and a separated section in Haifa. The Italian language is being taught in various centers around the country. The total number of students studying in centers under the direct control of the Italian Cultural Institute on 2004 reached 1500, in 150 courses with 30 teachers. If the Dante Alighieri Society courses are considered, the figure reaches 2500 students.

Recently, the possibility of introducing the teaching of the Italian language in various high schools and academic institutes has been successfully negotiated. For the academic year 2005-2006 the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv opened three academic courses of Italian Culture and Language at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Italian is taught in four of the seven universities in Israel, and Israeli students study medicine, law, science, politics, architecture, and art at Italian universities.[93]

Luxembourg

In November 1947, Luxembourg voted in favor of the partition plan to create a Jewish state. Israel and Luxembourg established full diplomatic relations in 1949. Due to Luxembourg's small size, the Israeli embassy is located in Brussels and Luxembourg is represented politically by the Dutch embassy and economically by the Belgian embassy.[94]

«Med Israel for fred» (With Israel for peace)- in Oslo

Norway

Norway was one of the first countries to recognize Israel on February 4, 1949. Both countries established diplomatic relation later that year. Israel has an embassy who serves Norway and Iceland in Oslo. Norway has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 2 honorary consulates (in Eilat and Haifa). Israels Venner på Stortinget (Friends of Israel in the Parliament of Norway) is a pro-Israel caucus group consisting of members of the Parliament of Norway (Stortinget).

Spain

Israel and Spain have maintained diplomatic ties since 1986. Nevertheless, Israeli exports to Spain are on the rise, totalling $870 million in 2006, and Israeli firms doing business with Spain include the Dead Sea Works, Haifa Chemicals, Amdocs, Comverse and Teva Pharmaceuticals.[95] The Spanish foreign minister visited Israel for an official visit in May 2008.[96]

Sweden

Sweden voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947. Relations between Sweden and Israel were good during the 1950s and 1960s, during Tage Erlander's tenure as Prime Minister of Sweden. Erlander expressed strong support for Israel during the Six-Day War.[97]

Olof Palme was more critical of the United States and its allies, including Israel. In 1969, the Swedish Social Democratic Party adopted a neutral stance in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[98] The new policy was justified by the Swedish diplomat Gunnar Jarring's position as the United Nations Secretary-General's special envoy in the conflict (the so-called Jarring Mission).[98]

In a speech at the United Nations on 11 October 1973, on the fifth day of the Yom Kippur War, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs criticized Israel and said the problems in the Middle East could not be solved by military superiority.[98] In June 1981, Sweden condemned Israel's attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq as a "clear violation of international law".[99] In July 1982, after Israel's invasion of Lebanon, Palme compared Israel's treatment of Palestinian children to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jewish children in the concentration camps and ghettos of World War II.[100] In December 1988, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat visited Stockholm by invitation of the Swedish government. After two days of negotiations, Arafat announced that he would now accept Israel's right to exist and he denounced all forms of terrorism.[101]

In October 1999, then Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson visited Israel, offering to broker the Middle East peace process. Persson's visit was the first official visit for a Swedish Prime Minister since Tage Erlander's visit in 1962.[102]

In January 2004, then ambassador of Israel to Sweden Zvi Mazel vandalized a piece of artwork by Swedish-Israeli artist Dror Feiler on display at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm, containing a portrait of Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat presented as "Snow White". Mazel's actions resulted in a minor diplomatic dispute between the two countries (see Snow White and The Madness of Truth).

During the Lebanon War, the Swedish government condemned both the actions of Hezbollah and the Israeli response: "Israel's military offensive in Lebanon means an enormously dangerous escalation of the situation in the region. [...] The attack by Hezbollah and the capture of two Israeli soldiers is a serious crime and a provocation. Israel has, according to international law, the right to defend itself, but at the same time it's important to not overstep the borders of what can be deemed as proportional."[103]

In 2009, a major fallout erupted over the Aftonbladet-Israel controversy. An article published by the Swedish daily Aftonbladet claimed that the IDF harvested the organs of Palestinians. Israel described the allegations as 'baseless' and a modern 'Blood Libel'.

Switzerland

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel in 1897, and 15 out of a total of 22 congresses were held in Switzerland. Before the establishment of the State of Israel, Switzerland maintained a consulate in Jerusalem and a consular agency in Tel Aviv. It recognized the new state in 1949 and opened a consulate in Tel Aviv, which was upgraded to an embassy in 1958. The Swiss community in Israel is the largest in the Asian region, totalling around 12,000 persons.[104]

After escalation of the Middle East conflict, Switzerland halted arms sales and military cooperation with Israel in 2002–2005. Since 2004 there has been regular political dialogue between Switzerland and Israel.[104]

Switzerland has represented Israel's interests in numerous countries (Hungary (1967–1989), Guinea (1967–1973), Ceylon/Sri Lanka (1970–1976), Madagascar (1973–1994), Liberia (1973–1983) and Ghana (1973–2002)). Conversely, it has represented the interests of Iran (1958–1987) and the Ivory Coast (1973–1986) in Israel. It has also lobbied successfully for inclusion of Magen David Adom in the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.[104]

On 21 April 2009, Israel recalled its ambassador for consultations due to events that occurred at the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Israeli officials, angered by a meeting between Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz and the Iranian president, recalled its ambassador to Switzerland, Ilan Elgar "for consultations" amid ongoing controversy over an anti-racism conference being held in Geneva.[105][106]

Turkey

Turkey was the second Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel,[54] only one year after the Declaration of the Jewish State (March 28, 1949). Israel has been a major supplier of arms to Turkey. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel is accorded high priority by the governments of both countries, which share concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the Middle East. One explanation for the close relationship is that Israel and Turkey are both Western-style, pluralist democracies in a region where both countries are ethnically and linguistically isolated. Although diplomatic relations have soured over the past few years, the two countries have patched-up their minor differences, marking a return to good ties that were severely strained in February 2006 when Turkey hosted a delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas.

On a formal visit to Turkey in 2006, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated that "Bilateral relations [between Turkey and Israel] are excellent. Not only on a leader-to-leader level but also on a people-to-people level". A Turkish diplomat, Selâhattin Ülkümen, is honoured as one of the Righteous Among The Nations for his work in rescuing Jews from Nazi officials on the island of Rhodes, by issuing them Turkish visas and later arranging for their transport to Turkish territory. Another diplomat, Necdet Kent, also rescued Jews from Nazi authorities, for which he was awarded a special medal by the government of the State of Israel.

However, the Turkish government's condemnation of the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict strained relations between the two countries.[107][108]

On March 5, 2009 the Israeli Haaretz daily reported that "secret reconciliation talks at the highest level" have been held to get the Israeli-Turkish relations back on track.[109] This report was cited in the Turkish press.[110][111]

United Kingdom

Since its recognized independence in 1948, the United Kingdom and Israel have shared cordial and strongly strategic relations; the two nations share interests in the fields of political cooperation, immigration (seeing as many British Jews migrate to Israel) and economic trade[citation needed]. However, relations between the two countries began as hostile. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Britain detained 8,000 Jewish men of military age attempting to emigrate to Israel in Cyprus, so they could not participate in the fighting. Britain supplied weapons to the Arab states, and almost went to war with Israel. When Israel captured the Negev, the British ministry of defense began to draw up plans for a possible invasion of Israel. British planes spied on Israeli positions, and war between the two countries became even more possible when three British planes flying over Israeli positions were shot down by Israel. However, the two countries began to soften later on, and trade began. Nevertheless, Anglo-Israeli relations became turbulent in the summer of 2006 when Prime Minister Tony Blair, along with many other European leaders criticized IDF airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, which had high civilian casualties. During the current Brown premiership, relations between the two countries continued to remain close.

Soviet Union and Eastern bloc

Russia

The Soviet Union voted in favor of the 1947 UN Partition Plan (Resolution 181) which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. Within 11 minutes of Israel's declaration of independence, it was recognized by the United States. The Soviet Union followed soon after, along with most of the other Western powers.[112]

The Soviet Union and the other communist states of Eastern Europe (with the exception of Romania) cut diplomatic ties with Israel during the Six-Day War. Relations were restored in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that hostile Arab countries such as Syria also maintain close ties with Russia. Russia is known to supply Syria with weapons.[113]

Poland

Poland was the first Eastern bloc country to recognize Israel in 1986. Full diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1990, after the communist People's Republic of Poland became modern, democratic Poland.

North America

Canada

Canada's relationship with Israel began in 1947, when Canada was represented on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Canada and 32 other countries voted in favor of a Jewish state, thus beginning a longstanding relationship with Israel based on a shared commitment to democratic values, understanding, and mutual respect.

United States

Yitzhak Shamir with U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, 1982

The relations between Israel and the United States have evolved from an initial United States policy of sympathy and support for the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 (It was the first country to recognize the establishment of the State) to an unusual partnership that links Israel with the United States trying to balance competing interests in the Middle East region. The United States has been considered Israel's most powerful and supportive ally and hosts the annual Salute to Israel Parade in New York City.

The United States is Israel's largest trading partner, accounting for 22.4% of Israel's $43.19 billion in imports, and 42.1% of Israel's $40.14 billion in exports annually (2005).[114] The U.S. also provides Israel with $2.4 billion in military assistance annually, which is equivalent to 24.5% of Israel's military expenditures. (2005).[114]

Mexico

Mexico and Israel have had diplomatic relations since January 1950. Throughout the years, they have maintained close relations with each other. In 2000, a free trade agreement was signed between the two nations. Mexico has also purchased arms from Israel and it's one of Israel's closest allies in North America.[115]

Oceania

Australia

Australia and Israel have full diplomatic relations that were established in 1948. Australia has an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel likewise in Canberra. There are 104,000 Jews living in Australia.

Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel (along with the United States) in international affairs. Throughout the history of the United Nations General Assembly, there has always been an "automatic majority" against Israel. The United States has often voted in favour of Israel and in recent years, one other nation has joined Israel's defense — Micronesia.

The foreign policy goals of the Micronesia are primarily linked to achieving economic development and protecting their vast marine environment. Israel was one of the first to welcome Micronesia into the family of nations, even before it became a member of the UN. According to Micronesia's U.N. deputy ambassador, the country has since sought close bilateral relations with Israel in areas such as agriculture, technical training and health care training.

Israel has assisted Micronesia in its early development. As one Micronesian diplomat said, "We need Israeli expertise, so I don’t see a change in our policy anytime soon."[116]

In January 2010, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, and the President of the Republic of Nauru, Marcus Stephen, with their foreign ministers, visited Israel to expand ties on issues such as healthcare, solar energy, water conservation, clean technologies and other areas in which Israel can provide expertise. They met with Israeli leaders including the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman.[117]

New Zealand

New Zealand has a long history of support for Israel beginning with the Partition Plan in 1947. Since then, most New Zealand governments have been supportive of Israel. The diplomatic relationship has deteriorated in recent years. After 53 years of full diplomatic relations, the Israeli Embassy in Wellington closed in 2002. At one time there were four missions in the South Pacific area in Canberra, Sydney, Wellington and Suva in Fiji. Presently, only Canberra remains open, which is now responsible for New Zealand-Israeli Relations.

The closure in 2004 of the Embassy in Wellington is due to $5.4 million in cost-cuts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It is speculated that trade with Arab countries were a major factor in this change of attitude. In June 2004, the New Zealand Government openly criticized Israel's policy of bulldozing Palestinian homes and donated $534,000 to aid homeless Palestinians.

In mid-2004, two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for three months and paid a $35,000 fine for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport. High-level visits between the two countries were subsequently cancelled, visa restrictions imposed for Israeli officials, and an expected visit to New Zealand by Israeli president Moshe Katsav was cancelled. More than a year later, Israel apologized and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that it was time to resume friendly diplomatic relations with Israel.

South America

Argentina

Golda Meir with Evita Peron

Argentina has traditionally maintained a good relationship to Israel. This was however compromised in 1992 during the Carlos Saúl Menem period with the terrorist attack at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. As no successful investigation followed, the same terrorists orchestrated a second, but more devastating operation in 1994 against the AMIA centre. 107 casualties resulted from the both of incidents. Néstor Kirchner called this a national disgrace, and reopened the files. His wife, and current President of Argentina, maintains a same approach to the matter.[citation needed]

Bolivia

Bolivia limited its foreign relationship with Israel in the wake of the current strikes of Israel in Gaza. Bolivia has reportedly promised to take Israel to an international court for alleged war crimes committed in Gaza. This was the statement of the Bolivian President Evo Morales. Morales is a left oriented poltican and a close friend of the Venzuelan President Hugo Chavez.[118]

Colombia

Colombia and Israel established formal relations in the mid-1950s. In recent years, Colombia has purchased planes, drones, weapons and intelligence systems from Israel. An Israeli company, Global CST won a $10 million contract in Colombia.[119]

Chile

Chile recognized Israel’s independence in February 1949. Israel sent its first ambassador to Chile in May 1950, and Chile sent its first ambassador Israel in June 1952. Prime minister Golda Meir visited Chile during her term in office. In March 2005, the Chilean minister of foreign affairs Ignacio Walker made an official visit to Israel.

Peru

Israel and Peru established diplomatic relations in 1957. In 1998 the tow countries began talks on a free-trade agreement.[120] Israel sent rescue teams and medical aid to Peru after earthquakes in 1970, 2005 and 2007.[121][122] In 2001, Eliane Karp, a former Israeli, became the First Lady of Peru.[123]

Uruguay

Israel has an embassy in Montevideo. Uruguay has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 2 honorary consulates in Ashdod and Haifa. Uruguay was one of the first nations to recognise Israel as independent.

Venezuela

Relations have historically been strong, but the bilateral ties have soured under the Presidency of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.[124] The Jewish population in Venezuela, which peaked at 45,000,[125] is now below 15,000 "as a result of severe instability in the country", according to the Israeli Stephen Roth Institute.[126] The Miami Herald, Jewish Times, and Jewish organizations have reported large-scale emigration of Jewish people from Venezuela during the Chávez administration.[127][128] As a result of the June/July 2006 battles in the Gaza Strip, Venezuela withdrew its ambassador to Israel. The embassy itself remains open and operational[129]Following the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, Venezuela cut its diplomatic ties with Israel. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called the attack "genocidal", and urged that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be tried for war crimes.

Mashav

A lot of the bilateral relations between Israel and developing countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania, and Central Europe, have been strongly strengthen and even in certain cases established thanks to the activities of the Mashav,[130] the Israeli Center for International Cooperation, created in 1958, in the goal to give to developing countries the knowledge, the tools, and the expertise that Israel gained in its own development, and its ability to "make the desert flourish". This center has trained almost 200,000 course participants from approximately 140 countries in Israel and abroad and has developed dozens of demonstration projects worldwide in fields of Israeli expertise.[131]

International organizations

The first international organization which the Israeli government joined was the International Wheat Council, established as part of Point Four Program in early 1949. Since May 11, 1949, the State of Israel is a member the United Nations.

Israel is a member of many agencies within the UN, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Israel also participates in other international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).[132]

Within the UNESCO, Israel is a member of the scientific council of the Informatics program, an active member in the International Hydrologic Plan (IHP) and an active member of the Man and Biosphere programme (MAB).[133]

Israel has joined the European Union Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development[134] and is a member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),[135] the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF),[136] the European Laboratory and Organization for Molecular Biology (EMBP/EMBL/EMBC),[137] the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) since 1994,[138] the International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.[139] and the Bank for International Settlement in 2003.[140]

Israel is, as of May 2007, a trial member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).[141]

Israel is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue with NATO.

See also

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

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