What to Watch Out for UK's Ongoing Support for Israel in Hamas Conflict
What to Watch Out for UK's Ongoing Support for Israel in Hamas Conflict

The Strong and Enduring UK-Israel Relationship-An Overview: In a show of steadfast support for Israel during its ongoing conflict with Hamas, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak embarked on a diplomatic mission to the Middle East. Amid escalating tensions, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister expressed solidarity with Israel, emphasizing the nation's right to self-defense against the militant group, Hamas, while acknowledging the plight of innocent Gazans. This visit closely followed US President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, underscoring the United Kingdom's status as a stalwart ally of the Jewish state.

Historic Diplomatic Relations: The foundation of the UK-Israel partnership dates back to April 27, 1950, approximately two years after Israel proclaimed its independence. In a pivotal move, the British Government formally recognized the jurisdiction of the State of Israel over its sovereign territory. This historic gesture marked the United Kingdom as one of the earliest nations to extend diplomatic relations to the newly established nation. Sir Alexander Knox-Helm, then Charge d'Affaires and Minister at the Palestine High Commission, served as the United Kingdom's first diplomatic envoy to Israel.

The British Mandate for Palestine: Long before the official recognition of Israel's statehood, the United Kingdom played an unintentional but pivotal role in setting the stage for its formation. In 1920, the British Empire established the Mandate for Palestine in accordance with the League of Nations' provisions, an agreement that became effective on September 29, 1923.

Under the Mandate, the British assumed control over parts of the Levant, leading to significant Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine and the emergence of nationalist movements within both the Jewish and Arab communities. The Mandatory Palestine era culminated on May 14, 1948, coinciding with the declaration of Israel's independence.

Strengthening Defense Ties: The United Kingdom and Israel have cultivated a robust strategic partnership with a focus on defense and security cooperation, aimed at addressing shared threats. In December 2020, the respective Chiefs of Defense of both nations signed an agreement for military cooperation. This accord involves collaborative research and development efforts to identify transformative defense and security capabilities, as well as joint training and military exercises. Of paramount concern is the prevention of Iran from obtaining nuclear weapon capabilities, a shared objective between the two countries.

Thriving Trade Relationship: On February 1, 2020, a comprehensive trade and partnership agreement between the United Kingdom and Israel came into force, cementing a £5 billion bilateral trade relationship. This agreement has fostered growth, with bilateral trade in services surging by 73% from 2010 to 2020. Furthermore, both Israel and the UK are actively exploring ways to enhance their free trade agreement (FTA). Notably, the Britain-Israel Investment Group has united these nations in collaborative technology projects across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, fortifying their economic ties.

The United Kingdom's unwavering support for Israel is deeply rooted in history and bolstered by mutual interests in defense, security, and trade. As global dynamics continue to evolve, this enduring relationship persists, shaping the diplomatic landscape of the Middle East and beyond.

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