The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has proved the most divisive issue in contemporary Middle Eastern politics. Washington’s role as Israel’s primary backer has greatly complicated the Arab–US relationship. As explored, the United States was not a major player in the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. In the early twentieth century the US role, as seen in the ill-fated King–Crane Commission of 1919, was characterized by a sense of caution. However, once the Israeli state was established, Washington became a major financial sponsor. As the century progressed, Tel Aviv and Washington became increasingly aligned in their political views. Pivotal moments, such as the 1974 oil embargo, pushed the two states ever closer. This bonding was influenced by Cold War strategy, shared political values, the US Israel lobby and, most importantly, by the changing relationship between the United States and Israel’s neighbours.