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Israel Excluded

U.S. ally kept out of NATO summit at Turkey’s request

• May 15, 2012 3:08 pm

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Pakistan has been invited to the NATO summit in Chicago next week but Israel notably has been left out at the request of Turkey, according to news reports.

Member nations officially invited Pakistan today, according to a statement by NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, Reuters reported.

"This meeting will underline the strong commitment of the international community to the people of Afghanistan and to its future. Pakistan has an important role to play in that future," the statement read.

Pakistan has come under criticism for closing supply routes to Afghanistan following a skirmish with NATO forces that claimed the lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers. Elements within the Pakistani army and intelligence services are routinely accused of abetting the Taliban.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has not yet decided if he will attend the summit, according to Reuters.

Yet Israel, which has been a staunch Middle East ally in the international fight against terrorism, did not even receive an invitation to the summit.

NATO officials stated that representatives of the Jewish state were not asked to attend because Israel does not partake in primary NATO missions.

Other reports, however, suggest Israel was not invited because of objections by NATO member Turkey, which has thoroughly chilled its once-warm relations with the Jewish state.

Others have disputed the veracity of that claim.

Pakistan’s invitation "emphasizes how ridiculous it is that Israeli isn’t invited," said one senior foreign policy aide on Capitol Hill. The aide added that "if the [Obama] administration wanted to, it could flex all of its military and diplomatic muscle to get Israel invited, but clearly there are other strategic interests in the U.S.-Turkey relationship that are more important than what countries are getting invited to this NATO conference."

A GOP foreign policy analyst slammed NATO officials for leaving Israel out in the cold while inviting the often-intransigent Pakistanis.

"It's a sad day when the same military alliance formed out of the ashes of the Holocaust, which pledged to the world ‘Never Again,' shuns the democratic State of Israel while welcoming a nation that supports terrorist groups responsible for murdering NATO soldiers," said the source. "With a single phone call, President Obama could make sure Israel gets an invitation to attend the NATO summit in Chicago as a NATO partner observer. His unwillingness to stand up for Israel inside the NATO council is very telling."