` State of Israel ` Declaration of Independence ‘ and the United Kingdom ‘

#AceHistory2Research – The state of Israel declared its independence on 14 May 1948. Israel is governed by a democratically elected parliament with a traditionally high participation in elections.

The head of state is the President, elected by parliament to serve a 7 year term, however power tends to lie with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Over the past 30 years no single party has gained a majority in the 120 seat parliament so Israel has been ruled by a succession of coalitions. Israel has been an associate member of the European Union since 1995 and became a full member of the OECD in 2010.

English: Map of Israel, the Palestinian territ...

English: Map of Israel, the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), the Golan Heights, and portions of neighbouring countries. Also United Nations deployment areas in countries adjoining Israel or Israeli-held territory, as of January 2004.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel’s armed forces occupied the West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip (along with the Sinai Peninsula) in 1967.

Israel subsequently withdrew from Sinai in 1982 and from Gaza in 2005, but has formally annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

This has not been recognized by the international community, including the British Government, which considers all territory captured by Israel in 1967 as occupied and the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as subject to negotiations with the Palestinians.

Business and Human Rights

Israel enjoys a strong entrepreneurial culture which nurtures and develops new ideas, making Israel a technology powerhouse. Israel has a high density of start-ups and many of the major technology companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Motorola, have their R&D centres in Israel. Many factors contribute to the success of Israel’s technology industries including: co-operation between academia and business through university Technology Transfer Offices, the ability to commercialize from the defence industries to the civilian market, an entrepreneurial start-up spirit coupled with a powerful VC community, and a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Israel’s total number of patents granted positions it first place world-wide in patents per capita, and number four in the world in the absolute number of patents approved.

Map of Israeli settlements, in navy blue, in t...

Map of Israeli settlements, in navy blue, in the West Bank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Settlements

The UK has a clear position on Israeli settlements: The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible.

We will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.

There are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity. Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory. This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment.

EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals. Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice.

We understand the concerns of people who do not wish to purchase goods exported from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  It was in order to enable consumers to make a more fully informed decision concerning the products they buy that, in December 2009, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) introduced voluntary guidelines to enable produce from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories to be specifically labelled as such.

English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip

English: Smuggling Tunnel, Rafah, Gaza Strip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Organised Crime

There is very limited evidence of serious organised crime in the West Bank.  There is some evidence of organised vehicle thefts being committed in Israel with the stolen vehicles being recycled in the West Bank, and the associated insurance pay-offs occurring in Israel.

As elsewhere, there is a drugs problem in the West Bank and Gaza. These are generally cannabis based drugs and to a lesser degree ‘designer’ drugs, such as ecstasy, and some harder drugs e.g. cocaine and heroin. This is reflected in the Palestinian prison population, whose drug-related inmate ratio is comparable to Europe.

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