Mideast Daily News

As Turkey-Israel Rapprochement Nears, NATO Stands to Benefit

By Michael Friedson | The Media Line

June 15, 2016

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While Turkey and Israel have apparently hammered out most of the final details of their rapprochement, the reconciliation is a rare harbinger of increased stability in a region fraught with destabilizing conflicts. At the same time the Israeli-Turkish rift is being healed, the Israelis have increased their profile with NATO, which utilizes Israel’s valuable experience and expertise regarding security issues that form the greatest threat to the region. Last month, Ankara signed-off on allowing Israel to open an office at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and recently Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hosted representatives from NATO countries in a closed-door session in Jerusalem. The Reuters news agency reported the comments of an unnamed diplomat who emphasized Israel’s value to the alliance in areas such as intelligence and cyber-security, while admitting that it was Turkey which prevented Israel’s contributions from being properly utilized by the alliance until now. NATO countries are looking forward to getting intel directly from Jerusalem rather than waiting to see whether Washington will share what the US receives from Israel. Despite the frequent indications that the reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey is imminent, the single formidable obstacle known to persist is the Turkish demand that Israel end its blockade of the Gaza Strip. This, at a time when the Hamas terrorist organization is known to be working 24/7 to build a network of tunnels through which to smuggle arms and fighters and from which its forces could launch raids into Israel and kidnap Israelis.

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