Foreign relations of Israel


Foreign relations of Israel
Israel

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

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. Israel has diplomatic relations with 157 states (156 of the other 192 United Nations member states, as well as the Holy See[1]). Diplomatic or trade relations have been established with several Arab and Muslim countries, although a number of these countries have now severed such relations. Israel maintains full diplomatic relations and open borders with neighbouring Egypt and Jordan since signing peace treaties with them in 1979 and 1994 respectively.

In addition to official diplomatic relations, Israel has been actively involved in providing humanitarian aid to developing nations and areas affected by natural catastrophes. Most recently, this has included direct volunteering by Israeli citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing support for Haiti.[2]

Contents

Diplomatic relations

World map showing status of Israel's diplomatic relations.

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish state experienced diplomatic isolation and Arab League boycotts. Today, Israel has diplomatic ties with 156 out of the other 192 member states of the United Nations as well as with non-member Holy See (Vatican City) and the European Union.[1] Some states recognize Israel as a state, but have no diplomatic relations. Others do not recognize Israel as a state. Several countries once had diplomatic relations with Israel, but have since broken or suspended them (Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in Latin America; Mauritania in the Arab League; Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger in non-Arab Africa; and Iran until the Islamic revolution). In addition, a number of countries (all members of the Arab League) that at one time had formal economic ties (primarily trade offices) with Israel that fell short of full diplomatic relations, have severed such ties (Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia).

No recognition or diplomatic relations

Countries which don't recognise the state of Israel.

Member states of the UN

Israel currently has no diplomatic relations with 36 UN member states, 19 of whom are members of the 22-member Arab League and 11 of the remaining states are other Muslim majority countries. Some of these countries accept Israeli passports and acknowledge other indications of Israeli sovereignty. The following are the UN member states with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations (period of former relations marked in brackets):

Algeria; Chad (1960–1972); Comoros; Djibouti; Guinea (1959–1967); Libya; Mali (1960–1973); Morocco (1994–2000); Mauritania[3] (2000–2009); Niger (1960–1973, 1996–2002); Somalia; Sudan; and Tunisia[1] (1996–2000), all of whom have a Muslim majority.
(Algeria,[4] Libya,[5] Somalia[6][7][8] and Sudan[9] do not recognise Israel as a state.)
Bolivia[10] (1950–2009); Cuba,[9][11] (1950–1973); Nicaragua [12] (1948–1982, 1992–2010) (relations currently suspended, not severed[13]); and Venezuela[14] (1950–2009).
North Korea.[15] (Does not recognise Israel as a state.)[16]
Bahrain (1996–2000); Iran (1948–1951, 1953–1979); Iraq; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman (1996–2000); Qatar[3] (1996–2009); Saudi Arabia; Syria; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.
(Iran,[17] Iraq,[18] Kuwait,[9] Lebanon,[9] Saudi Arabia,[9] Syria,[9][19] United Arab Emirates[20] and Yemen[9] do not recognise Israel as a state.)
Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan (which has diplomatic relations with only 25 countries[21]); and Pakistan.
(Afghanistan,[22] Bangladesh[23] and Pakistan,[9] do not recognise Israel as a state.)
Brunei; Malaysia;[9] and Indonesia,[9][23][24]
(None of these countries recognise Israel as a state.)

Non-members of the UN

Israel has no diplomatic relations with the following states or entities:

Abkhazia; Kosovo; Nagorno-Karabakh; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; State of Palestine; Sahrawi Republic (which does not recognise Israel as a state[citation needed]); Somaliland; South Ossetia; and Transnistria. (Israel has not recognised the independence of any of these entities.)
Tzipi Livni shaking hands with Salam Fayyad, 2008

Partial recognition

Comoros has no official diplomatic ties with Israel but the countries engage in mutual trade.[25]

Although the Israeli diplomatic missions in Bahrain, Morocco, and Oman were closed in 2000, trade and economic ties continue[citation needed]. Israeli tourism to Morocco is encouraged by the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry, a non-governmental private Jewish organization.[26]

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.[27]

Recent developments

  • On January 14, 2009, Bolivia and Venezuela severed diplomatic ties with Israel.
  • On January 16, 2009, Qatar suspended economic ties after president Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Khaled Meshaal, a leader of Hamas, 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.[28] The Mauritanian delegation to Israel left earlier without sending official notice to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[29]
  • In September 2009, the Maldives restored diplomatic relations with Israel, 15 years after suspending them.[30]
  • On June 2, 2010, Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in response to the Gaza flotilla raid.[13]
  • On July 28, 2011, Israel and South Sudan announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations.[31]

Middle East countries

On October 1, 1994, the Persian Gulf states announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel.

Egypt

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

Jordan

King Hussein, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin, Israel-Jordan peace treaty

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

Iran

Iranian minister Reza Saffinia visiting the 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,[32] 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 an inscription that says, "The bearer of this passport is forbidden from traveling to occupied Palestine."[33] Comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad[34] were perceived by Israel as threat of destruction.[35][36][37][38]

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.

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.[39] However, members of the Kurdistan Regional Government have at times expressed support for relations with Israel and have enjoyed relatively good relations with it.[citation needed]

Kurds

In 2006, the president of south Kurdistan (KRG Kurdistan Regional Government) Massoud Barzani said: “It is not a crime to have relations with Israel. If Baghdad established diplomatic relations with Israel, we could open a consulate in Hewlêr (southern Kurdistan).” Israeli television broadcast photographs from the 1960s showing Mustafa Barzani embracing then Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan. In 2004, Israeli officials met with Kurdish political leaders. In 2006 the BBC reported that Israel was training Kurdish military forces in Iraqi Kurdistan.[40]

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.[41][42][43]

Syria

Since 2004, Syria has accepted the import of apples from farmers in the Golan Heights, territory which it claims, through the Quneitra crossing. This was a result of the on-going Israeli refusal to accept apples from Golan farmers (reportedly due to over-supply), which led to a plea by the farmers to the Syrian government to accept their produce before it became spoiled in order to prevent economic collapse. In 2010, some 10,000 tons of apples grown by Druze farmers in the Golan Heights were sent to Syria.[44]

Turkey

Turkey was the second Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel,[32] only one year after the Declaration of the Jewish State (March 28, 1949). Israel was a major supplier of arms to Turkey. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel had been accorded high priority by the governments of both countries, which shared concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the Middle East.

However, in February 2006, relations between Turkey and Israel first became strained when Turkey hosted a delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas, although on a formal visit to Turkey in 2006, the Israeli then 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".

However, in January 2009, the Turkish government's condemnation of the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict severely strained relations between the two countries.[45][46]

Relations between the two countries became even further strained after Israel's May 31, 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.[47] On September 2, 2011, Turkey downgraded ties with Israel to second secretary level and suspended military co-operation between the countries .[48]

Africa

Israel has diplomatic relations with 40 of the 44 Sub-Saharan African states that are not members of the Arab League, including a number of Muslim majority states.

Angola

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

Djibouti

Although Israel does not have diplomatic or official trade relations with Djibouti (a member of the Arab League), following a meeting between officials of both countries in September 1995, plans were then announced to open liaison offices in the respective countries´ capitals, prior to the possible establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states.[49] However, such relations did not materialize.

Eritrea

Eritrea developed relations with Israel shortly after gaining its independence in 1993, despite protests among Arab countries. Israeli-Eritrean relations are close. The president of Eritrea has visited Israel for medical treatment.[50] However, Eritrea condemned Israeli military action during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict.[51] Israeli-Eritrean ties are complicated by Israel's close ties to Ethiopia, who have shared an unfriendly dyad with Eritrea for a long time.

Ethiopia

In Africa, Ethiopia is Israel's main and closest ally in the continent due to common political, religious and security interests.[52] 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.

Ghana

Diplomatic relations with Ghana were established immediately following Ghanaian independence in 1957. Agreement on technical cooperation was concluded on May 25, 1962. On May 24, 1968, a trade agreement was concluded. A cultural cooperation agreement was concluded on March 1, 1973.

Relations were broken at the initiative of the government of Ghana on October 28, 1973, following the Yom Kippur war.[53] Improvement in relations followed Israeli attempts to prevent Ghanaian support for the Palestinian Authority, which led to a state visit to Ghana by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman in September 2009. During that visit, a bilateral agreement for agricultural ccoperation was signed.[54][55] Diplomatic relations were restored in September 2011.[56]

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.[57] In 2006, Israel sent an 80-person search-and-rescue team to Kenya to save people trapped in rubble when a multistory building collapsed.[58] Following the 2007 Kenyan presidential election Israel donated medicine to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.[59]

Lesotho

Lesotho was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Malawi and Swaziland) that maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.[60]

Malawi

Israel established diplomatic relations with Malawi in July 1964,[1] immediately following that country achieving independence from the United Kingdom. Malawi was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Lesotho and Swaziland) that continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and has never severed such ties.[60]

Morocco

In 1986, King Hassan II invited then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for talks, becoming the second Arab leader to host an Israeli leader. Following the September 1993 signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Morocco accelerated its economic ties and political contacts with Israel. In September 1994, Morocco and Israel announced the opening of bilateral liaison offices.[citation needed] When the king died in 1999, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and the Moroccan-born foreign minister David Levy flew to Rabat for his funeral.[61] The foreign offices were closed in 2000 following sustained Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Nigeria

Israel and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1960[citation needed]. In 1973, Nigeria broke off contacts with Israel, but in May 1992, bilateral relations were restored.[1] Since April 1993, Israel has maintained an embassy in Abuja and Nigeria has maintained an embassy in Tel Aviv.[1] Many Nigerians go on religious pilgrimage to Israel[citation needed].

Senegal

Relations with Senegal were established soon following independence of the African state. They were broken by the government of Senegal on October 28, 1973, following the Yom Kippur war.[53]

South Africa

The Union of South Africa was one of only four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel. South Africa was one of the first states to recognize Israel and diplomatic relations between Israel and South Africa were established in 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 generally cool, and South Africa has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, and some government officials have mirrored the anti-Israel views from much of South Africa's union and activist community.

South Sudan

Israel recognized the Republic of South Sudan on July 10, 2011, and offered the new state economic help, following its declaration of independence the previous day from the mainly Arab Muslim north Sudan.[62] On July 15, 2011, South Sudan declared its intention to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel[63] and, on 28 July 2011, it was announced that full diplomatic ties had been established between the two countries.[31]

Togo

In May 2009, Israel and Togo signed a "pact for cooperation in the economic, agricultural and educational fields" with each other.[64]

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.[65] 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.[65]

Swaziland

Israel established diplomatic relations with Swaziland in September 1968,[1] immediately following that country achieving independence from the United Kingdom. Swaziland was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Lesotho and Malawi) that continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and has never severed such ties.[60]

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.[66]

Asia

In addition to Turkey, Israel has diplomatic relations with 7 non-Arab Muslim states in Asia (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).

Afghanistan

Despite being a close ally of the United States and India, Afghanistan has no relations with Israel and has criticized its existence several times. Along with neighboring ally Iran, Afghanistan considers 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.[67] Chants of "death to Israel" rang through the streets of the Afghan capital Kabul for a week.[67] Many Afghans lined up to donate blood to Palestinians.[67] In January 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel's invasion of Gaza a massacre "barbaric and inhumane and widely helped by the Americans".[67]

Bangladesh

Although Israel was one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh (4 February 1972) upon its independence;[citation needed] 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 are 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.

Burma

U Nu and Moshe Dayan in 1955.

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.[68] [69] 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.

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.[70][71]

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.[72] In 2007, China launched a countrywide Festival of Culture in Israel to mark 15 years of relations.[73]

India

India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become Israel's strongest ally in Asia.[74][75] 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.[76] Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites. India became the top source market for Israel from Asia in 2010 with 41,000 tourist arrivals in that year.[77]

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; the U.S. even gave Israel approval to sell the Phalcon to India after earlier forcing Jersualem to cancel a similar deal with China. 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.[78] 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. According to an international opinion survey conducted in 2009 on behalf of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, India is the most pro-Israel country in the world.[79][80]

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. The current president of Maldives, Mr Mohamed Nasheed has announced that he would like to establish diplomatic relation with Israel.

Being one of the few countries with an entirely Muslim population, Nasheed has got a strong protest from the public over this announcement.

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.

Pakistan

Israel and Pakistan do not have diplomatic relations with each other, and Pakistan forbids its citizens from going to Israel by putting the legend 'This passport is valid for all countries of the World except Israel' on Pakistani passports.[81][82][83] Some Israeli leaders have expressed the belief that should diplomatic relations with Pakistan be established, then Pakistan could serve as a bridge between Israel and the Muslim world.[84] In 2008, the Israeli Foreign minister stated that "Israel considers Pakistan as its biggest strategic threat" in light of concern over the increasing Taliban threat in Pakistan.[85]

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.[86] 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.[87][88]

Nepal

Abba Eban and the King of Nepal at Weizmann Institute, 1958

Israel-Nepal relations, first established in 1960, are based on mutual security concerns.[89] 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.[90]

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 (Singapore declared independence from Malaysia), Singapore appealed to the international community for technical assistance and military aid. Israel sent 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.[citation needed]

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.[91]

South Korea

The Republic of Korea and the State of Israel established diplomatic relations on April 10, 1962.[92][93] Israel opened its embassy in Seoul in April 1968, which was closed by the Israeli government in February 1972. The embassy was reopened in January 1992, with Korea opening its resident embassy in Tel Aviv in December 1993.[92]

On August 23, 2010 Korea Venture Investment Corp. (KVIC), a state-backed fund management company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Vertex Venture Capital (VVC) to raise a US$150 million fund, which will be used to finance joint ventures or the merger and acquisition of small and mid-size venture firms in the two countries.[94]

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. [95]

Sri Lanka

In May 2011, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture visited Sri Lanka with an agro-business delegation to promote cooperation between the two countries. [96]

Turkmenistan

In 2009, the Israel Foreign Ministry announced the opening of a new embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.[97]

Vietnam

Vietnam and Israel established diplomatic relations on July 12, 1993. Israel opened its resident Embassy in Hanoi in December 1993.[98] The first Vietnamese ambassador to Israel presented his credentials on July 8, 2009.[99] Since the establishment of diplomatic 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.[100]

Europe

Albania

Israel and Albania established diplomatic relations on August 20, 1991. Albania had previously recognized Israel as a state since 1949.[101] Albania has an embassy in Tel-Aviv and Israel also has an embassy in Tirana.

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.[102]

Austria

Austria recognized Israel on March 5, 1949. Austria has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 3 honorary consulates (in Eilat, Haifa and Jerusalem).[103] Israel has an embassy in Vienna.[104] Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean. The Austrian Foreign Ministry lists the bilateral treaties with Israel (in German only).[105]

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.[106]

Croatia

Israel and Croatia established diplomatic relations on April 9, 1997. Croatia has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 4 honorary consulates (in Ashdod, Caesarea, Jerusalem and Kfar Shmaryahu). Israel has an embassy in Zagreb.

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.[107]

Cyprus serves an important role as the place where most Israeli couples obtain civil marriages, because Cyprus is the closest country on good diplomatic terms with Israel that issues civil marriages. Israel does not issue civil marriages, only religious ones, with religious restrictions on the eligibility of marriage, and a recent law allows civil marriages in Israel under one condition: both individuals are non-Jewish residents of the state. Israel does however recognize civil marriages issued abroad, with Cyprus being the largest source of easy civil marriage licenses.

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.[108]

Denmark

The relations between Denmark and Israel have been friendly and warm.

Finland

In 2004, a joint Finland-Israel Technology (FIT) cooperation program was created for research and development projects in the field of ICT. The Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Research and Innovation, allocated five million euros each for the funding of projects. [109]In 2005, Finnish exports to Israel totaled 155,24 million euros and imports from Israel to Finland totaled 95,96 million euros. Israel's leading exports to Finland are telecommunications equipment and machinery, and Israeli fruits and vegetables.[110]

France

Tzipi Livni and French foreign minister Douste-Blazy

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 1962 removed most common interest from the relationship, and France became increasingly critical of Israel.[111] 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.[112] Under François Mitterrand in the early 1980s, French-Israeli relations improved greatly. Mitterrand was the first French president to visit Israel while in office.[113] In 1967, after the Six Day War, 5,300 French Jews immigrated to Israel.[114]

Georgia

Relations between Israel and Georgia are currently relatively close.[115] 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[115] 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 to 1,000, have trained the Georgian military for some time.[115]

Germany

Israel and Germany maintain a "special relationship" based on shared beliefs, Western values and a combination of historical perspectives.[116] Among the most important factors in their relations is Nazi Germany's role in the genocide of European Jews during the Holocaust.[117]

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.[118]

Greece

Three Israel Air Force helicopters, two Apache longbows and one Blackhawk, fly above Greek mountains during a joint exercise with the Hellenic Air Force, on June 2011

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.[119]

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. The Holy See (the Vatican), which has UN observer status, is the only non-UN member state with which Israel has diplomatic relations and the only non-UN member state recognised by Israel. 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.[120]

Ireland

Full diplomatic relations between Ireland and Israel were established in 1975.[121] In 2006, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland was Zion Evrony,[122] and the Irish ambassador to Israel was Michael Forbes.[123]

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.[124] 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.[125]

In 2010, the Israel Defense Forces forcibly boarded an Irish aid ship destined for the Gaza Strip which resulted in worsened relations, Israel's Mossad was also involved in the counterfeiting of Irish passports, 2 members of the Israeli ambassador's security staff in Dublin were subsequently deported. In 2010, there were numerous protests at the Israeli embassy in Ireland over the treatment of Palestinians.

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.

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.[126]

"Med Israel for fred" (With Israel for peace), Oslo

Netherlands

In 1947, the Netherlands voted in favor of the establishing Israel and established diplomatic relation in 1949. Israel has an embassy in The Hague and The Netherlands has an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Norway

Norway was one of the first countries to recognize Israel on February 4, 1949. Both countries established diplomatic relations later that year. Israel has an embassy which 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).

Poland

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

Portugal

Russia and the Soviet Union

Benjamin Netanyahu and then Russian president Vladimir Putin

The Soviet Union voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On 17 May 1948, on the third day of Israel's independence, the Soviet Union granted de jure recognition to the State of Israel, becoming only the second country to recognise Israel (preceded only by the United States' de facto recognition) and the first country to grant Israel de jure recognition.[127]

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 dissolution 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.[128]

In September 2010, Israel and Russia signed a comprehensive military agreement that will "increase cooperation on combating terrorism" and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and signed the agreement during a ceremony in Moscow. The Russian military plans on purchasing additional a Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles. Russia previously bought 12 drones from the Israel Aerospace Industries following the war in South Ossetia.[129]

Serbia

Diplomatic relations between Israel and Serbia's predecessor state, Yugoslavia, were severed for 25 years, from 1967 until 1991, when they were officially renewed, by which time Yugoslavia was in the process of disintegration. Diplomatic relations continued when, in April 1992, the two remaining Yugoslav republics, Serbia and Montenegro, formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (renamed to Serbia and Montenegro in February 2003). On June 3, 2006, Montenegro and Serbia dissolved the union.

Kosovo

On February 17, 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia, a move Serbia rejects. Kosovo has been recognized by a substantial number of UN members, including the United States and most members of the European Union, but not by Israel.[130] At the time of the declaration, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official stated: "We haven't decided when we're going to decide, and instead will monitor events and consider the issue". Israel is reluctant to recognize Kosovo's independence, in part because of the possibility of Palestinians using recognition of Kosovo to justify their own unilateral declaration of independence.[131]

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.[132] The Spanish foreign minister visited Israel for an official visit in May 2008.[133]

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, and Sweden expressed strong support for Israel during the Six-Day War.[134] However, from 1969, Sweden became more critical of Israel.[135] [136]

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.[137]

After escalation of the Middle East conflict, Switzerland halted arms sales and military cooperation with Israel from 2002 to 2005. Since 2004, there has been regular political dialogue between Switzerland and Israel.[137]

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 also lobbied successfully for inclusion of Magen David Adom in the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.[137]

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.[138][139]

Ukraine

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 Defence 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 four British planes 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 Cameron premiership, relations between the two countries continue to remain close.

Americas

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. In 2010, Argentina recognised the State of Palestine as a full sovereign state.[citation needed]

Bolivia

Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim

In January 2009, Bolivia limited its foreign relationship with Israel in the wake of strikes in Gaza by Israel. Bolivian President Evo Morales has reportedly promised to take Israel to an international court for alleged war crimes committed in Gaza.[140]

Brazil

In 2009, the Israel Foreign Ministry announced the reopening of the Israeli consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil.[97] Although Juscelino Kubitschek, President of Brazil between 1956 and 1961, visited Israel after his tenure, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the first Brazilian president to visit Israel while in office, in 2010.

Canada

Golda Meir and Canadian Ambassador Margaret Meagher, 1959

Canada's relationship with Israel began in 1947, when Canada was represented on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Canada was one of the 33 countries (including only four Commonwealth members) that voted in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution that lead to the creation of the State of Israel, thus beginning a longstanding relationship with the Jewish state based on a shared commitment to democratic values, understanding, and mutual respect.

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. Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.[141][142]

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.[143]

Cuba

Cuba broke relations with Israel in 1973. In late 2010, Fidel Castro, who no longer holds office in Cuba's government, stated that he considers Israel has a 'right to exist', which is a shift from his regime's earlier policy.[144]

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.[145]

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.[146]

Nicaragua

On June 2, 2010 Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in response to the Gaza flotilla raid.[13]

Panama

Panama formally recognized the State of Israel on 18 June 1948. The two countries first exchanged in 1960.

Peru

Israel and Peru established diplomatic relations in 1957. In 1998 the two countries began talks on a free-trade agreement.[147] Israel sent rescue teams and medical aid to Peru after earthquakes in 1970, 2005 and 2007.[148][149] In 2001, Eliane Karp, a former Israeli, became the First Lady of Peru.[150]

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).[151] 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).[151]

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 were once strong, but the bilateral ties have soured under the Presidency of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.[152] The Jewish population in Venezuela, which peaked at 45,000,[153] is now below 15,000 "as a result of severe instability in the country", according to the Israeli Stephen Roth Institute.[154] The Miami Herald, Jewish Times, and Jewish organizations have reported large-scale emigration of Jewish people from Venezuela during the Chávez administration.[155][156] 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[157][verification needed]Following the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, Venezuela cut its diplomatic ties with Israel. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez called the attack "genocidal", and urged that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be tried for war crimes.

Oceania

Australia

Australia was one of the four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution. Australia and Israel established full diplomatic relations in January 1949.[158] Australia has an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel likewise in Canberra. There are 104,000 Jews living in Australia.

On May 24, 2010, the Australian government expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of Australian passports in the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, with a statement by Parliament Foreign Minister Stephen Smith that the misuse of the passports was "not the act of a friend".[159]

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is one of the most consistent supporter of Israel international affairs, along with the United States, Micronesia and Palau. The Marshall Islands is a country in free association with the United States, and thus consistently vote in favor of the United States.

Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel (along with the United States, the Marshall Islands and Palau) 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,[160][161] 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."[162]

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.[163]

Micronesia is a country in free association with the United States.

New Zealand

New Zealand was one of the four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution. Since then, most New Zealand governments have been supportive of Israel. The diplomatic relationship had deteriorated somewhat 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. Following the closure, only Canberra remained open, which was responsible for New Zealand-Israeli Relations. In 2009, the Israel Foreign Ministry announced the reopening of the embassy in Wellington.[97]

The closure in 2004 of the Embassy in Wellington had been due to $5.4 million in cost-cuts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It was 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.

Palau

Palau is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel in the United Nations and other international affairs along with the United States, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. In 2006, Palau had the highest voting coincidence with Israel in the United Nations.

Palau is a country in free association with the United States.

Foreign aid

Israel has provided humanitarian assistance to developing countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania, and Central Europe through the activities of Mashav,[164] the Israeli Center for International Cooperation, created in 1958, with the goal to give developing countries the knowledge, tools, and expertise that Israel gained in its own development, and its ability to "make the desert flourish". This center trains course participants from approximately 140 countries on healthcare, as well as emergency and disaster medicine, and has participated in dozens of projects worldwide in fields economic fields such as agriculture, education, development, employment, and healthcare, as well as humanitarian fields such as disaster relief, reconstruction, and refugee absorption.[165]

In the 1970s, Israel broadened its aid agenda by granting safe haven to refugees and foreign nationals in distress from around the world. Since the 1980s, Israel has also provided humanitarian aid to places affected by natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In 1995, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel Defense Forces established a permanent humanitarian and emergency aid unit, which has carried out humanitarian operations worldwide.[166] As well as providing humanitarian supplies, Israel has also sent rescue teams and medical personnel and set up mobile field hospitals in disaster-stricken areas worldwide.

International organizations

Israeli flag at the United Nations building in New York

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).[167]

Within the UNESCO, Israel is a member in many international programmes and organizations. In the area of science Israel is an active member of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), and the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). Other notable organizations Israel is an active member of include the Education For All movement, the European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES), the World Heritage Committee (WHC), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).[168] Relations are carried out through the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO.[169]

Israel has joined the European Union's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP) in 1994,[170] and is a member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),[171] the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).[172] It is also a member of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) since 2003.[173]

On May 10, 2010, Israel was invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).[174] Israel is a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum.[175] Israel did sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, but did not ratify. It therefore remains one of only 7 countries which is not member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

See also

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

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