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Israel to participate in NATO events

Dec. 24, 2012 at 7:10 AM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- NATO has approved Israeli participation in activities in 2013 after Turkey agreed to lift its veto, Israeli officials said.

Turkey a full NATO member has opposed Israel's participation within the military alliance due to deteriorating ties between the related to Jerusalem's refusal to apologize to Ankara for the killing of nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Mamara, which was attempting to break the Gaza blockade, in May 2010 by Israeli commandos, The Jerusalem Post said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Ramussen initiated the move that paved the way for Israel's renewed participation in activities at a meeting in Brussels two weeks ago, the Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News said Monday.

In the past year, Israel, a NATO partner, was barred from participating in new NATO activities due to Turkey's objections, the Post said.

However, Israeli officials told the Post the turnaround is no coincidence, noting it comes at a time when NATO approved Turkey's request to deploy Patriot missile systems near the border with Syria, and revealed in its work plan for 2013, Israel will participate in a range of courses and conferences, the Post said.

"At the last minute -- and I think it was dependent on the Patriots -- it was approved," an Israeli official, who opted for anonymity, told The Post.

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