Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 17:18 UK

2008: Israel now

Palestinian boys play under Israel's separation barrier in May 2008
Palestinian boys play under Israel's separation barrier


Sixty years after independence, Israel has established the national home for the Jewish people promised in the Balfour Declaration.

It is a democratic society with a high standard of living comparable to that in Western Europe, a vigorous free press and excellent educational and health facilities. It has a hi-tech industry and agriculture and the strong military, economic and diplomatic support of the United States and other Western states.

It has also established itself with important parts of the Arab world, with offers or hints of acceptance by others if there is a peace agreement.

But all its borders have not been fixed and, above all, it has not reached a settlement with the Palestinians.

It faces hostility from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and it fears that Iran is preparing one day to build a nuclear bomb, which makes it determined to hold on to its own nuclear weapons.

It is powerful but it is not at peace.

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