state of Israel

The modern state of Israel is on the extreme eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea and borders the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There are territorial disputes with Gaza and Syria at present.

Israel has maintained West Bank occupation since 1967, in defiance of many United Nations demands to surrender it. This includes occupation of the whole of Jerusalem which it claims as its capital city.

The modern state is deliberately confused by name with the biblical kingdom of Israel, the Jewish fundamentalist notion of a transcendant or mystical process or outcome called Israel, and other notions that are not connected to modern political Zionist aims: integration of much of the West Bank into an exclusively Jewish-controlled state. Many people who are supportive of the religious or cultural goals associated with the religious discourse around "Israel" do not support the state or its policy, which include deliberate exclusion and disenfranchisment of over two million Arabs, who have no vote in the state of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority was recognized in 1995 in part to relieve pressure on the state of Israel to permit these citizens to vote in the country that actually controls their lives and prospects. However, the PA has never controlled movement in these regions, and has been unable to protect its citizens from military moves by the state of Israel, which in practice simply invades their territory when it likes.

Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and a plan to prevent any and all transit from Gaza to Israel by 2008, was a controversial move by the Likud government of Ariel Sharon. A split within Likud forced Sharon to quit that party and form a new party with defectors from the Israeli Labour party notably former Israeli PM Shimon Peres. Just before the Israeli election, 2006, Sharon fell into a coma, leaving Ehud Olmert in charge. Meanwhile, Hamas won election in Gaza.

He won the election, and Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu was reduced to only a dozen seats.

A policy of the former and current government was and is to complete the West Bank fence which is effectively a land grab by Israelis seeking to establish a new de facto border considerably east of the original 1967 border with Jordan (which has disavowed claims to that territory in favour of the PA). For this and other reasons, Hamas has refused to renew any peace talks.