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Are there any other instances in the world where a country is in a situation similar to Israel, where all its land neighboring countries consider it an enemy?

While Israel does have peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, the people in those countries still hold a negative view of Israel. See Egypt and Jordan.

The remaining two countries, Lebanon and Syria are in a state of war with Israel.

Palestine has both, a state of war in Gaza, and peace deal with tensions and conflicts in the West Bank, so people in the two parts still view Israel as an enemy.

Edit: Can countries still be enemies after signing a peace treaty?

I had initially removed this part of the question in response to a request in a comment, but doing so led to the type of comments I had hoped to avoid. Therefore, I am reinserting it.

I think it is still possible for one or two countries to continue viewing each other as enemies even after signing a peace deal. A peace deal or treaty may mark the formal end of hostilities and conflict, but it doesn't necessarily mean that all underlying issues or historical grievances are fully resolved. Sometimes, political, economic, or ideological differences can persist, leading to ongoing tensions or a perception of enmity between the two nations. In such cases, the peace deal might help prevent further conflict, but it may not completely eliminate the perception of enmity between the countries

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    There is a big difference between having negative views and disagreements with a country and those countries being its "enemies" within the sense of international law, which implies pretty much being in a state of war with them. So, Israel doesn't qualify. Also, Israel's shore is about 20 km from Saudi Arabia's shore on the Gulf of Aqaba. I'm not sure where the boundary line is in that Gulf but their national boundaries might touch in that body of water and are at least closer than that.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 13, 2023 at 22:00
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    This question could be improved by more clearly specifying what the criterion is for being a neighbor (does it require land border or just certain level of proximity?) and for considering a country an enemy. Since the friendly relationship between the governments of Israel, Jordan and Egypt seems to carry little weight, the question seems to be more about popular attitudes, but the Wikipedia links regarding Egypt cites a 2006 poll and the one for Jordan cites nothing.
    – jkej
    Oct 14, 2023 at 1:35
  • I don't doubt that there are negative sentiments about Israel in these countries, especially at this time, but by what metric should this be compared to other parts of the world?
    – jkej
    Oct 14, 2023 at 1:35
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    @ohwilleke I did have a section on the question explaining why these are enemies but another user complained about that section and asked me to remove it.
    – Mocas
    Oct 14, 2023 at 4:14
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    @Mocas, I'm still worried by your premise. The country of Egypt is on reasonable terms with Israel, there are no official hostilities, they have multiple shared treaties, and diplomatic relations are strong enough that the US supplies Egypt with significant quantities of weapons each year. There are some factions of the Egyptian population who are hostile, by if you're going to count that then China, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Pakistan and India all meet your criteria due to hostile factions in their neighboring populations despite there being no official hostilities. Oct 15, 2023 at 18:41

11 Answers 11

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South Korea.

Its only neighbor (by land) is North Korea.

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    And they definitely have an active No Man's Land between them... People do die there.
    – Nelson
    Oct 15, 2023 at 15:37
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    The two Koreas are technically still at war with each other. They've had an armistice since 1953, but never a treaty.
    – dan04
    Oct 16, 2023 at 19:01
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If you are willing to consider countries close to others by the sea (say less than 100 miles) as neighbors, then Taiwan's only neighbor is China.

Yes, I know that Taiwan doesn't legally consider China to be a real country, and China doesn't consider Taiwan to be a real country either. But in the world both of them are real countries that have guns pointed.

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    I am only looking for countries with land borders, which is the reason I didn't include Saudi Arabi in the list above, as it is only 10miles away from Israel by sea.
    – Mocas
    Oct 13, 2023 at 16:18
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    thought that was likely... I suggest that you modify your question so that intent is more clear. Neighbors is a bit vague
    – Questor
    Oct 13, 2023 at 16:27
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    The shortest distance from Kinmen (Taiwan) to the PRC is only 2,310 meters (source).
    – user103496
    Oct 14, 2023 at 3:15
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    @Questor: I was pondering more the question of whether Canada would be viewed as having US as its only land neighbor, or whether Denmark would disqualify Canada from being bordered only by the US (though of course it's over 200 years since the US and Canada have really been enemies).
    – supercat
    Oct 16, 2023 at 16:50
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    @Questor: I completely failed to say why I was mentioning that border. I think for most of the history of the US-Canada border, it was the only land border Canada had with anyone, but the peace treaty, which provides that either side may unilaterally terminate it with 30 days notice without being viewed as violating it, has held up remarkably well, and resulted in both parties to the War of 1812 being better off than would have been possible if either had won (even the "winning" party would probably have been worse off than under the actual state of affairs).
    – supercat
    Oct 16, 2023 at 17:33
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In the past, there have been many examples of this. Canada's only neighbor is the US, and the two went to war in 1812 (but they get along fine now). The UK and Ireland are each other's only neighbors, and they had a lengthy period of what I will charitably describe as "extremely poor relations" (things are still a bit tense, but much less so after the signing of the Good Friday agreement). Haiti and the Dominican Republic also have a history of enmity with one another (which is still somewhat of a problem today, as far as I can tell).

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    @Mocas: The USSR did not exist prior to 1922. You're thinking of the Russian Empire. As far as I'm aware, Russia and Canada were not in serious conflict, but the US and (what would eventually become) Canada were still having boundary disputes at least as late as 1859, so I think it is reasonable to assume that it took awhile for the countries to warm up to each other, even after the Alaska purchase.
    – Kevin
    Oct 13, 2023 at 16:32
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    (1) In 1812, Canada was a colony of the UK. But if you count Canada in 1812 as its own country, then it had a land border with other UK colonies or native tribes. (2) Through Gibraltar, the UK has had a land border with Spain since 1713. (The UK has probably had other land borders with other countries too.)
    – user103496
    Oct 14, 2023 at 3:11
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    The USSR before WWII...
    – Anixx
    Oct 14, 2023 at 3:46
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    Actually Canada has a land border with Denmark now, although relations have recently improved with them! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Island
    – JeffUK
    Oct 14, 2023 at 10:10
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    Are the people claiming that Ireland and Britain have never had poor relations missing the entire period of colonisation, somewhat forceful union, and an independence war? It's only in the last 100 years since independence that relations have become halfway sensible. Oct 16, 2023 at 10:10
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If you consider territories with only limited international recognition, but which are a political reality:

  • Both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus. Their only land border is the UN-controled buffer zone between the two. The independence of Northern Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey. Internationally, the northern part is considered to be under Turkish occupation.

  • Transnistria is locked between Moldova and Ukraine. There are no UN member states that recognize its independence from Moldova. The Council of Europe considers Russia to be an occupying force, but Russia itself still keeps things in the air. Ukraine for a long time had good relations to Transnistria, but since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there have been signs/rumors that Ukraine would take Moldova's side and even back a Moldovan forced occupation.

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  • IIRC the population in Transnistria is like 1/3 Russian 1/3 Ukrainian 1/3 Moldovan. So Ukraine probably wants to eject the Russians [military] on one hand, but probably has some qualms about giving Moldovans too much of a free hand. Oct 13, 2023 at 18:40
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    @Fizz As I said, a lot of rumors, empty posturing and one blown-up bridge.
    – ccprog
    Oct 13, 2023 at 18:46
  • I might separate this into 2 answers. Very good. I didn't know about TRNC before.
    – Questor
    Oct 16, 2023 at 17:05
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One could say Venezuela [too] to some extent. This has been somewhat dependent on governments in the neighboring countries. But in a nutshell

  • Broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia for a few years (reestablished in the meantime). Border closures were common.
  • Has a border/territorial dispute with Guyana. US helps the latter with sea patrols etc.
  • Bad relations with Brazil when the latter was run by a right-wing government. Brazil recognized the opposition leader as president etc.
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Lesotho, which is an enclave of (completely surrounded by) South Africa, was invaded by South Africa in 1998.


In 2023, Lesotho's parliament debated a motion "that Lesotho should reclaim all of Free State province, which at 130,000 square kilometres is more than four times the size of the kingdom, as well parts of four other provinces bordering the landlocked state." (Reuters.)

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    Yeah, but the latter event was a motion by a minor opposition leader in Lesotho. Many countries have some nationalist movement that wants "Greater OurCountry", but they're not always in power. The 1998 "invasion" was not related to that though; it was in fact requested by the Lesotho ruling party. As for territory, Lesotho lost those lands in the 1960s, when it was formed. Oct 16, 2023 at 7:27
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Eritrea has a conflict with Ethiopia and "tense" relationships with Sudan and Djibouti. Although it formally has diplomatic relations with both Sudan and Djibouti, there are border issues with Djibouti (that have necessitated a Qatari peacekeeping force until recently) and cross-border issues with Sudan, over Sudanese support for Islamist groups within Eritrea.

However, there doesn't seem to be a national enmity between Eritrea and Sudan in the way that there is between Eritrea and Ethiopia (or between Israel and Syria) And the level of conflict seems to depend much upon the personal interactions between the leaders of the countries.

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This was Hungary after WW1 around the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. From the north it was attacked by the newly formed Czechoslovakia, from the east by Romania and from the south by the Kingdom or Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Even Austria, the former co-constituent of Austria-Hungary, took lands from Hungary in the west. The result was that Hungary had to cede about 2/3 of its territory. While large groups of non-Hungarians living in those territories welcomed these border changes, also several millions of Hungarians found themselves under the rule of neighbouring countries because the new borders did not respect the linguistic borders. While you may say that this does not have any relevance to current days politics, exactly the opposite is true.

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Until a few weeks I would have suggested Artsakh. But in general, most enclaves or exclaves are either currently in this situation, or were at some point in their history.

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    But Artsakh is not a country. Instead, it is a part of a country (either Armenia or Azerbaijan) which borders other countries, not all of which are enemies.
    – user103496
    Oct 15, 2023 at 9:34
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    Hmmm... Wikipedia calls it the Republic of Aetsakh.... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Artsakh?wprov=sfla1
    – adam.baker
    Oct 15, 2023 at 9:50
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    Whether you're a country depends on whether you're widely recognized as one. You can declare yourself Republic of Whatever, but that doesn't mean others recognize you as a country. If you disagree, then you probably want to include such countries as Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands (and hence also Australia).
    – user103496
    Oct 16, 2023 at 2:30
  • There's a difference between de jure and de facto, and there's certainly a sliding scale on both. But your quarrel is with the concept of a country, not with the Republic of Artsakh. :-)
    – adam.baker
    Oct 16, 2023 at 5:53
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    Artsakh was neither de jure nor de facto independent. All observers considered it effectively run by Armenia. cyberleninka.ru/article/n/…: "Nagorno-Karabakh became de facto part of Armenia (its quasi-statehood can dupe no one)" books.google.com/books?id=QBWgBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA211: "Nagorno-Karabakh is de facto part of Armenia."
    – user103496
    Oct 16, 2023 at 6:21
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Historically, this was true of England, which was either at war with, or invaded Scotland and Wales for much of their history as separate nations, in addition to a longstanding enmity with over-the-water neighbours France and Ireland, and frequently bloody rivalries with Germany (and its predecessor states), the Netherlands and Spain.

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    The question is asking about the present.
    – Rick Smith
    Oct 14, 2023 at 22:29
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    @RickSmith and yet this answer has +10/-0 votes and also answers only with historical emnities.
    – uhoh
    Oct 15, 2023 at 9:18
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    @uhoh - So? Your comment seems to suggest that I was unaware of the content of other answers. That was not the case. The comment I left is valid, so I don't see the point of your comment.
    – Rick Smith
    Oct 15, 2023 at 14:03
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Pakistan, has active conflicts with both Afghanistan and India over border disputes, and has so-and-so relations with Iran and China, although it does not actively engage in conflicts with either of these two so I suppose it isn't as extreme of an example as Israel is

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