Israel and NATO getting together

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Israel and NATO have approved a long-term plan for cooperation in 27 different areas including fighting terrorism, intelligence sharing, arms development and management, protection against unconventional weapons, military doctrine and training, civilian emergency planning, and dealing with natural disasters.

Israel is the first non-European country, and the first in the Middle East to cooperate with NATO and reach a bilateral agreement with the organization.

During the meeting to approve the agreement at the NATO headquarters in Brussels Ambassador Oded Eran said that “NATO and Israel are natural partners and the agreement institutionalizes at least a part of that partnership. The potential is vast and we did not hide our wishes for an upgrade which will allow a more complete fulfillment of that potential.”

In the plan, Israel agrees to explore the possibilities of a partnership with NATO. Such an official partnership will bring to an upgrade of Israel’s official status with the organization to the same level of European countries who are not full members of the organization.

The “bilateral cooperation agreement” effectively institutionalizes Israel’s ability to deepen the bilateral cooperation with NATO which has been developing in the past few years. As an example, Israel took part in naval exercises in the Black Sea and in infantry exercises in the Ukraine with a fighting force from the Israeli Golani unit; and stationed an Israeli naval officer at the NATO headquarters in Naples.

Israel has also announced it is willing to make the Israel Defense Forces’ search and rescue teams available for NATO in case of emergency, as well as for training and exercises.

Israel has announced its intentions to contribute to NATO’s collective effort to deal with the security threats faced by both: the threat of terrorism and the threat of nuclear proliferation and its launching methods. Israel is also interested in the sharing of military information and experience with the different members of the organization.

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