Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief

Israel has forged close bilateral cooperation with the United States in many areas. U.S. law requires the executive branch to take certain actions to preserve Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” or QME, and expedites aid and arms sales to Israel in various ways. Additionally, a 10- year bilateral military aid memorandum of understanding—signed in 2016—commits the United States to provide Israel $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and to spend $500 million annually on joint missile defense programs from FY2019 to FY2028, subject to congressional appropriations. In 2021, some Members of Congress have increased their scrutiny over Israel’s use of U.S. security assistance, contributing to debate on the subject. This report also discusses the following matters:

New government and domestic issues (Prime Minister Naftali Bennett);

Israeli-Palestinian issues;

Iran and other regional issues;

China: Investments in Israel and U.S. concerns

The Biden Administration has followed agreements reached during the Trump Administration that normalized or improved relations between Israel and four Arab states—the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Biden Administration officials have said that any further U.S. efforts to assist with Israel-Arab state normalization would seek to preserve the viability of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian leaders have denounced normalization as an abandonment of the Palestinian national cause, given Arab states’ previous insistence that Israel address Palestinian negotiating demands as a precondition for improved ties. Possible economic benefits and U.S. arms sales stemming from Israel-Arab state normalization may influence relationships among regional actors.   purchase on Amazon