After COMPLETELY DESTROYING the Middle East, they want more control in the area. Is it really to ‘protect’ the gas fields that they are stealing from the area? Or is it actually to control the people who they did not yet kill? Russia has brought Israel and Turkey together, so now they are all one big happy family. The only thing left for them to do is to enslave the people by claiming that they need to ‘create a basis for dialogue and cooperation in security and counterterrorism’. What terrorism? The one they created?
The eastern Mediterranean is becoming a strategic area of interest for NATO, Israel’s Navy liaison officer to the international agency, Maj. Ortal told The Jerusalem Post last week.
“The area of the eastern Mediterranean is becoming very attractive, especially in terms of the gas fields and the platforms there, which will be a strategic focus in terms of possible threats. There is therefore shared interest in protecting this area,” she said.
Maj. Ortal, who began her position last year representing Israel’s naval forces in London at NATO’s MARCOM (the maritime operational command for NATO) told The Post she hopes to see NATO ships helping protect the eastern Mediterranean area alongside Israeli Naval vessels in the future.
MARCOM serves as the agency’s principal maritime advisor across the region.
Ortal is the main link between NATO and Israel’s Navy — an important position — as NATO has a “big interest in shared partnership” with Israel, a strategic partner in the region, she explained to The Post.
“NATO would be very happy if Israeli ships joined NATO vessels because they know the professionalism and capabilities of the Israeli Navy is very high,” Ortal said.
Israel’s relationship with NATO is defined as a “partnership,” and the country has been a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue since it was initiated in 1994, along with six other non-NATO Mediterranean countries of Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.
One of the Mediterranean Dialogue’s main goals is to create a basis for dialogue and cooperation in security and counterterrorism, but after the cooling of ties between Israel and Turkey six years ago, Ankara exerted efforts to isolate Jerusalem from military cooperation with NATO.
Following the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel in June of last year, Ankara withdrew its longstanding veto against Jerusalem being accepted as a partner nation to the organization. Last January, Israel opened its first ever diplomatic mission to NATO headquarters, along with several other countries belonging to the Istanbul Initiative, which is comprised of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. Israel to open permanent office at NATO HQ
In an official visit, General Peter Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee met in March with senior IDF officers, such as Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, to discusses common challenges and regional developments.
In November of last year, NATO launched Operation Sea Guardian, its new maritime security mission in the central Mediterranean. According to Ortal, as part of the operation, “a few months ago Israel sent for the first time a liaison officer on board one of the NATO ships in the central Mediterranean Sea.”
As part of the ongoing collaboration, there is constant dialogue between the military branches and agencies and other organizations under NATO, with IDF representatives participating in the organization’s exercises, Ortal said.
While relations between Jerusalem and Ankara, former allies, remain strained, as the latter pivots toward Iran and Russia, Israel sent representatives last month to observe the NATO-sponsored submarine escape and rescue (SMER) exercise, Dynamic Monarch, in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea off Turkey’s Aksaz.
“Politics doesn’t really play a role here,” Ortal told The Post. “There are Turkish officers that I work alongside with who are very nice and we work well together. But everything that is related to relations between Israel and Turkey takes place in [the NATO Headquarters] in Brussels.”
According to Ortal, of all the non-member countries with NATO delegates, only Israel has the status of liaison officer at MARCOM, pointing out that Egypt, which is part of the Mediterranean Dialogue and another regional country with a strong navy is not.
“Israel is the only nation that is sending a liaison officer to MARCOM,” she said, adding that “it’s very nice that we can have this sort of dialogue with other countries in the region.”