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Israel location

The State of Israel in blue, State of Palestine in green

Israel, formally the State of Israel (Hebrew: tr. Medinat Yisrael, Arabic: tr. Dawlat Israil), is a country in the Middle East. It is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan. Established in 1948 following the Oslo Accords, it was intended as a homeland for Jews and is the world's only Jewish-majority state. Not including occupied areas of Palestine, Israel has a population of 7.5 million, 6 million of which are Jews and the rest mainly Arabs. The diplomatic and economic capital of Israel is Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem is the historical and political capital and contains many government buildings, but is not internationally recognized as such.
Flag of israel

The flag of Israel

Strategic situationEdit

Since its creation, the State of Israel has been under constant threat of attack from Arab or other Muslim forces. At first, these were the governments of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, but a series of brief wars resulted in various peace agreements, though tensions remain high. Today, the primary threat is non-governmental Islamist groups, some of which are terrorist organizations. Iran has also appeared as a threat, though actual danger has been largely exaggerated through political rhetoric. Israel is a nuclear weapons state, though it is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and can neither confirm nor deny its capabilities. Furthermore, every Israeli citizen (men and women) is required to join the military through conscription. Arabs are almost entirely excluded from conscription because of documentation restrictions placed on them. Due to constant threats, Israel is one of the most militarized countries in the world.

Status of Palestinian TerritoriesEdit

Israel settlements

Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank

As a whole, the State of Palestine is home to 4.5 million people, the vast majority of whom are Muslim Arabs. The territories that comprise the current State of Palestine were taken from Jordan (the West Bank) and Egypt (the Gaza Strip) during the Six Day War and their status as occupied areas was reaffirmed in the Yom Kippur War. Most Muslim nations refuse to recognize the State of Israel due to the ongoing occupation of these areas.

The State of Palestine was proclaimed as an entity in 1988, and received recognition as a sovereign state by the United Nations in 2012. As of 2013, the West Bank is controlled by the Fatah political group, which is seen as the most legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Hamas, a more radical organization, controls the Gaza Strip and is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and many other Western countries. Israeli settlements in Palestine are part of an ongoing program by the Israeli government to consolidate its control of "Greater Israel". Active armed resistance by Hamas has led to the abandonment of settlements in the Gaza strip, but the West Bank is being systematically and illegally settled by Jewish squatters under the pretense of military occupation. These settlements have been repeatedly condemned by organizations like the UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent, and almost all foreign governments, but the present conservative government ignores this and construction continues.

GeographyEdit

Negev desert

The Negev Desert

Israel covers a small area, bordered to the west by the Mediterranean Sea, which provides tourism and trade. The south of the country is dominated by the Negev Desert. The River Jordan forms Israel's boundary with the Kingdom of Jordan, flowing into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea contains Earth's lowest point on land, at 417 meters (1368 feet) below sea level. The Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret, is the site of many biblical events and is Israel's largest body of fresh water.

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