Israel not invited to NATO's Chicago summit


U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2nd L) meets with Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith (2nd R) at the NATO Defence Ministers Summit in Brussels, June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed (BELGIUM)



Israel will not be attending NATO's Chicago summit this summer, according to the Associated Press. 

Rumors began swirling that Turkey had blocked Israel's invitation, however NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the AP, the reason they are not invited is because Israel does not participate in NATO's main military missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, which are the focus of the Chicago summit. 

According to US News, Israel and Turkey have been feuding since Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship delivering aid to the Gaza strip two years ago. The commandos killed nine on board. Turkey is waiting for a formal apology from Israeli leaders. According to US News, Israeli leaders say that apology is not going to happen.

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The Huffington Post reported, "Representatives of about 60 nations and international organizations will attend the Chicago conference. Partner nations include include Sweden, Switzerland, Qatar, Georgia, Australia and New Zealand."

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Phillip Gordon, a senior State Department official told US News there was never an indication Israel would be invited because Israel like other non-member nations, is a NATO partner. "There is some misconception about this issue. NATO had not envisioned inviting Israel to the Chicago summit," Gordon said. "The Chicago Summit was never going to [include] a single meeting of all those partnerships and alliance, as a simple matter of logistics and time. There was no ... particular invitation to Israel for Turkey to block. That's just not accurate."

The Huffington Posted noted, several members have opposed attempts to forge closer cooperation Israel as they believe it could, "hurt the alliance's relations with other Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, which remains NATO's top operational priority."

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