Israel to join NATO ops despite Turkey tension

Israel is a member of NATO

From Hilary Leila Krieger, Jerusalem Post :  Israel has received approval to participate in NATO activities in 2013 that had been held up amid tensions with Turkey, Israeli officials told The Jerusalem Post.

The officials said the approval had come as Turkey’s request that NATO station Patriot missile batteries along its border with Syria was granted, leading them to assess that NATO was using the deployment as leverage to induce Ankara to thaw its relations with Israel.

Turkey, a full NATO member, has been opposed to increasing Israel’s participation within the military alliance as ties between the two countries deteriorated, according to NATO officials. . . .

NATO is a consensus-based organization where any one of its 28 full members can veto a proposal, though often opposition is conveyed through informal channels.

However, as Turkey’s request for the Patriot systems was approved by NATO and deployment began, a NATO work plan for 2013 that would include Israeli participation in a range of courses and conferences went through.

Israeli officials don’t think the timing was a coincidence.

“At the last minute – and I think it was dependent on the Patriots – it was approved,” said one Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity. . . .

A NATO official, also speaking anonymously, didn’t address the specifics of the arrangements with Israel or the decision to grant Turkey Patriot batteries but said of Israel’s connecting them: “This is their assessment of how elements are linked.”

Turkish diplomatic sources told the Post that “Turkey’s position did not change on this matter.”

The Israeli official stressed that the improvement at NATO “is not a total solution” to the rupture with Ankara and its adverse impact on the role Israel can play at the alliance.  (graphic: CBS/AP)

Image: cbs%20ap%2012%2023%2012%20Israel%20NATO.jpg