Israel not invited to NATO summit

Israel has not been invited to NATO’s May 20-21 summit in Chicago, the alliance’s top official said. But he denied that alliance member Turkey had blocked Israel’s participation.

Instead, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the reason is because Israel does not participate in NATO’s main military missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

News reports have claimed that Turkey blocked Israel’s participation because of the 2010 Israeli interception of ships heading to Gaza in which eight Turks and a Turkish-American died.

Earlier this year, Turkey scuttled a plan to include an Israeli warship in a NATO-run flotilla patrolling the Mediterranean.

In the past, Israeli warships and air force jets have joined in some NATO exercises, but Israel’s participation in the naval operation would have been the first time its armed forces had taken part in one of the alliance’s military operations.

Representatives of about 60 nations and international organizations are attending the Chicago conference. — ap