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This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This study examines the prospects for closer Israeli-NATO cooperation by analyzing the historical context and possible benefits and constraints of developing the relationship. Starting from the inception of NATO and the establishment of Israel, the analysis considers the experiences of the small Middle Eastern nation and the large collective defense organization. Israel's limited experiences in multilateral settings, its doctrine of self-reliance, Turkey's critical role, and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict have constrained NATO and Israel from cultivating the full potential of the relationship. Of all the impediments, the Israel-Palestinian conflict stands out as the most significant, an undercurrent to them all. Despite Israel's growing isolation in the Middle East, Israel and NATO have gained significant ground in deepening their bilateral relationship. Facing similar threats from common radical adversaries, both Israel and NATO stand to gain significant benefits in further developing the partnership. In order to gain more support from the members of NATO, as well as for other reasons, Israel must take progressive steps toward a peaceful resolution with the Palestinians.
Instability within the Middle East has been persistent since World War I. The conflicts of the Middle East are not held within the confines of the ill-fated post-Ottoman borders. The establishment of Israel in 1948 introduced a new and enduring factor in the region' s politics. Powers external to the Middle East, including the United States and Russia, took sides in the Israeli-Arab struggle, heightening Middle Eastern volatility with proxy wars. The spread of Islamic extremism throughout the Middle East further complicated attempts to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict. Although several struggles rage within the Middle East, the Israeli-Arab conflict is a consistent variable in the region's instability.
The United States befriended Israel from the founding of the new state in 1948. Washington maintains a strong bond with Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East. Since 1948, the United States has shown unquestionable resolve to support the State of Israel. While the Israeli-Arab conflict has persisted and evolved, the collapse of the Soviet Union obliged NATO to adapt its policies to contemporary problems. The NATO Allies created the Alliance in 1949 in order to deter Soviet expansionism. In NATO's latest Strategic Concept (2010), the Alliance has reaffirmed its determination to be prepared for collective defense, to deal with all stages of crises, and to promote cooperative security. Specifically, the Strategic Concept notes dynamic political shifts and extremism as factors aggravating the instability of the world. A founding member of NATO, the United States is politically entrenched in the Middle East. Israel's proximity to Europe, its democratic political system, and its special relationship with the United States have helped to draw attention to the possibility of a greater Israeli-NATO partnership.