Great Britain

   Israel's relationship with Great Britain antedates Israel's independence and can be traced to the period of World War I when, among other arrangements concerning Palestine, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, which endorsed the concept of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The declaration was seen as support for the Zionist claim to a Jewish state in Palestine. The British were granted the mandate over Palestine after the end of the war and retained their control until the establishment of Israel's independence in May 1948. Britain did not support the establishment of the Jewish state and supplied arms to the Arab states during the War of Independence (1948—49) in addition to supporting the Arab position in the United Nations (UN). Britain recognized Israel in 1949.
   In May 1950, Britain joined with France and the United States in a Tripartite Declaration to limit arms sales to the region in an effort to ensure regional stability. The ensuing years were marked by a coolness in British-Israel relations, while London retained close links with many of Israel's Arab neighbors. Nevertheless, in the fall of 1956, Britain joined with France and Israel in a tripartite clandestine plan to deal with the policies and activities of President Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. Nasser sought to accelerate the British withdrawal from Egypt and the Suez Canal zone and to undermine British influence elsewhere in the Arab world. In July 1956, he nationalized the Suez Canal, which the British regarded as having economic value and strategic significance. Israel invaded Egypt in the Sinai War (1956), and Britain and France soon joined in after giving both Egypt and Israel an ultimatum. The convergence of interests and the marriage of convenience that resulted soon came apart under the pressure of the international community, especially the United States.
   In the 1960s, there was small growth and improvement in relations between Israel and Britain, which included the sale of some military equipment to Israel. At the same time, London was in the process of reordering its relationship with the Arab states, especially its former colonial territories. Sympathy for Israel was widespread in Great Britain at the outbreak of the Six-Day War (1967). It was Britain's UN representative who was instrumental in the drafting of UN Security Council Resolution 242, but Britain did not play a major role in trying to achieve peace in the years immediately following the 1967 war.
   The succeeding years saw a variation in the relationship, with links alternately improving and worsening based on changes of personalities in decision-making positions in both Britain and Israel. Britain's role in the European Community and its advocacy of the Venice Declaration of 1980, which sought a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict on terms deemed problematic by Israel, remained an irritant in the relationship. There was generally perceived to be a degree of continuity in British policy between the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major and the Labour governments of Tony Blair. Despite occasional disputes with Israeli governments over specific policies and actions (especially with regard to outbursts of Palestinian violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip), relations between London and Jerusalem were generally viewed as positive and constructive. As the Blair government found common cause with Israel in relation to opposition to terrorism originating from the Middle East (especially after the 7 July 2005 bombings in London), there was a perceptible warming in the bilateral relationship. Blair's appointment, upon his retirement as Britain's prime minister in June 2007, as peace envoy for the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, European Union, and UN) was viewed favorably by most Israelis.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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  • Great Britain — p1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Great Britain — Britain, Great Britain, the British Isles, England, etc. 1. Use of these terms causes confusion. Great Britain refers to the largest island in the group, which is divided between England, Scotland, and Wales. Politically, it means these three… …   Modern English usage

  • Great Britain — comprises England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are NOT part of Great Britain. Related links British Isles discrimination United Kingdom …   Law dictionary

  • Great Britain — 1. principal island of the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, & Wales, & administratively including adjacent islands except the Isle of Man & the Channel Islands 2. the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland …   English World dictionary

  • Great Britain — (spr. grēt britten), Großbritannien …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Great Britain —   [ greɪt brɪtn], englisch für Großbritannien …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Great Britain — noun uncount the island that consists of England, Scotland, and Wales …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Great Britain — c.1400, Grete Britaigne. As opposed to Brittany …   Etymology dictionary

  • Great Britain — This article is about the island. For the modern state, see United Kingdom. For the state that existed from 1707 to 1801, see Kingdom of Great Britain. For the ship, see SS Great Britain. For other uses, see Great Britain (disambiguation). Great… …   Wikipedia

  • Great Britain —    Along with Germany, France, and Spain, Great Britain was one of the leading Western European nations at the end of the 19th century and a major imperial power. However, although victorious in 1918, following the devastating effects of World… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Great Britain — noun 1. a monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles; divided into England and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland; Great Britain is often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑United Kingdom,… …   Useful english dictionary

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