NATO-Med Dialogue

  • Interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

    By Lally Weymouth, Published: June 20, 2013 in the Washington Post

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with The Post’s Lally Weymouth on Thursday in Jerusalem about how he sees the situation in Israel and the surrounding countries.


    Q: You said this week that Israel would not accept anything less than the total cessation of all enrichment of nuclear materials by Iran. You also called for the removal from Iran of all enriched nuclear materials. You then went on and laid down quite a few conditions. Are your conditions greater than before, and do you have a timetable for military action against Iran?

    A: These aren’t my conditions. They are the demands of the U.N. Security Council. And they’re minimal demands — that Iran remove all enriched nuclear material, that they stop all enrichment and that they shut down the illicit nuclear facility in Qom. I think they should be held to this. It’s an acid test of whether they are serious. We shouldn’t put style over substance.

    What do you think of the recent Iranian elections?

    I think the elections reflect a deep dissatisfaction of the Iranian people with its regime. Unfortunately, this result doesn’t have the power to change Iran’s nuclear ambitions. These are determined not by the elected president but by the so-called supreme leader, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei.

    You mean the nuclear program is controlled by Khamenei?

    Guided and controlled by Khamenei. He remains committed to pursuing the path of arming Iran with nuclear weapons, and I’m afraid the elections are not going to change that.

    But after all, Khamenei ruled out [of contention] Esfandiar [Rahim] Mashaei and other candidates. Hassan Rouhani was one of the candidates the supreme leader allowed to participate in the election.

    That’s right, Rouhani was chosen as one of a slate of candidates that conform to Khamenei’s extremist views. They eliminated hundreds of candidates and left seven. Then they eliminated [former president Ali Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani and Mashaei. They left Rouhani. Rouhani used to be the national security adviser of Iran and the former nuclear negotiator. He’s the author of a doctrine — I call this doctrine “talk and enrich.” He wrote the book on it.

    Is this an analogy, or he actually wrote a book?

    He wrote a book. The book was [about] his experiences in negotiations.

    As a nuclear negotiator?

    Yes, and other experiences. 

    To read the rest of the article, click here.

  • First-time cooperation between MASHAV and First-time cooperation between MASHAV and NATO – training for mass-casualty events, 15 November 2009

    (Communicated by MFA Spokesman’s Bureau)

    Israel's National Agency for International Cooperation – MASHAV, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – together with NATO and Rambam Medical Center will hold an advanced training course on, “The best ways of training for mass-casualty situations”. This is the first time MASHAV and NATO have cooperated on a project.
    The workshop, which will be held on 16-18 November, is intended for doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and first-responder organizations that deal with treating the injured in mass-casualty events. Professionals from NATO member states in Europe as well as FSU (Former Soviet Union) and Mediterranean states are expected to attend.
    Speakers include experts from the United States and Finland and key figures in the field of trauma in Israel. The program consists of lectures, working groups and exercises in different ways to handle mass-casualty situations.
    A NATO senior official will attend the first day of the workshop.


  • Minister Tzipi Lvini's speech to the NATO-Mediterranean Dialogue Ministerial Meeting, 7 December 2007

    Thank you for the opportunity to share ideas on mutual challenges and goals and the ways to achieve them. This idea of a dialogue between NATO and the Mediterranean countries represents an understanding and re-assessment of the new nature of the challenges we all face and the need for new alliances to challenge them.
    From the Israeli perspective, this dialogue represents two important but different perspectives:
    The first - the relationship between Israel and NATO. I want to say clearly that we are natural partners and allies, as we share the same values and interests: the values of democracy and freedom, the willingness to defend our common way of life, the need to cope with external threats and the aspiration for global security. Therefore it is only natural that we come together, under the auspices of NATO, and work together. Israel is keen to further develop its relations with NATO, both in terms of the political and strategic dialogue at all levels, as well as in the practical initiatives.
    The second perspective is the fact that we meet here, members of the Mediterranean Dialogue, to discuss mutual security needs and cooperation between states in the region, some of them have no diplomatic relations with Israel. This symbolizes new understandings of the common challenge and gives hope for the future.
    At first, we need to understand that there is a change in the nature of global challenges. There are the old-fashioned threats coming from states like Iran - a dangerous regime based on an extreme religious ideology and speaks clearly about its vision of wiping a state off the map, denies the Holocaust, works with radical elements in order to undermine other regimes in the region and financing terrorist organizations - while simultaneously tries to achieve nuclear weapons. Make no mistake: This is the Iranian goal - this is the purpose of the continuous enrichment program - in clear violation of the NPT and Security Council resolutions. There is not, and there should not be any dispute on this. I was pleased to hear your statement showing determination to continue the pressure and sanctions in Iran, because any hesitation now is a victory to the extremists over the camp of moderates that we are all part of.
    The new threats come also from terrorist groups which act within weak states that have no capability to enforce their sovereignty - Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. We need to understand the nature of this problem, especially at the beginning of a new process of peace that was launched in Annapolis.
    A few words on Annapolis:
    In Annapolis we launched three different processes:
    1. The bilateral process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, aimed to try and answer all issues revolving the conflict.
    2. The process of actual changes on the ground -
    a. the implementation of the Roadmap - an obligation that both parties took upon themselves in Annapolis. Israel expects the Palestinians to meet these obligations, to fight terror, as we are ready to implement our part.
    b. Direct support of the international community to the capacity-building of the PA - in order to create a functioning and effective government.
    3. The process with the Arab world - it is needed for the legitimacy, support of normalization in stages, to show that we understand the same challenges and threats.
    I know that you are interested in the bilateral process, you want to help. However, the decisions for a peace treaty need to be made by both sides. Only the direct parties of this conflict can make decisions about their own destinies. The two sides need to bridge a gap, to reach a solution based on two states for two peoples, to make sure another terror state will not be created.
    Israel wants to end the conflict while understanding there will be territorial concessions in order to create a Palestinian state. We already dismantled settlements in Gaza and we are willing to do more in the West Bank.
    On the 12th of December we will hold the first negotiations meeting, but as the Israeli chief negotiator I want to say that our ability to bridge the gaps, to make compromises on the issue of borders, directly relates to our security needs. And so the gap we need to bridge is between the future understandings we will reach and the situation on the ground.
    One way to understand this is that the implementation of future agreements will be subject to the implementation of the Roadmap. We can not just throw the keys to the other side of the border. Gaza is an example for that.
    Here comes the role of the international community. Helping the capacity-building is not a task of less importance; without it any agreement can be left on the shelf, abused by extremists.
    Keeping the distinction between moderates and extremists is not a theoretical strategy, it is crucial. We are now in a process that is expected to strengthen the capabilities of the Palestinian Authority - so they would fight terror instead of Israel. However, one can not exclude the possibility that we will need to discuss what can be the role of NATO in supporting the need for a change, a real change, on the ground.
    I believe that it is our responsibility and aspiration to meet these goals and to implement the vision of two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security, but simultaneously we need to work together in order to stop smuggling of weapons in Lebanon and Gaza, and to fight terrorism wherever it arises.
    There needs to be an understanding that peace requires not only a political agreement between the parties - that is to be achieved only through direct bilateral talks - but also through the assurances of its implementation on the ground.
    Israel's ability to reach an agreement based on substantial territorial concessions directly relates to our need to make sure we do not jeopardize our security and our future. Here, I believe, the dialogue between Israel and NATO begins

  • NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, February 2007

    The understanding that security in the Mediterranean was vital to assure the security of Europe led to the launching of NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue in late 1994. The Dialogue framework encompasses 7 nations – Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania, and takes place in 3 different routes – 26+1 (bilateral route), 26+7 (regional route) and 26+N.
    In order to create a basis for dialogue and cooperation in the sensitive field of security NATO defined the dialogue in its first few years as bilateral and progressive in essence. In other words, the dialogue was designed to allow each country to set its own areas of interest and its own pace of progression in the framework of a yearly work plan which included both a military and a civilian component. In practice, and out of a desire to move ahead in more or less the same pace with all of the Mediterranean countries, the dialogue was managed on the basis of the lowest common denominator. In order to solve this problem the 26+N formula was introduced which allows countries capable or willing to move ahead at a faster pace while preserving the principals of basic equality and transparency between the member states. Despite this fact, NATO still tries to maintain, as much as possible, a maximal level of equilibrium between all members to the dialogue.
    NATO’s work plan regarding the dialogue nations in derived out of the organization’ work plan geared towards the PfP/EAPC Nations. Out of a modest program which included only a few dozen activities the plan was expanded along the years to cover a few hundred activities which are divided into a military program and a civilian-security program. Israel strives to participate in the maximal number of activities possible, given fields of interest and budgetary constrains.
    The terror attacks of 9/11 have shined a new light on the Mediterranean dialogue. NATO had recognized the specific contribution and the public and operational added value brought by the Mediterranean nations in the field of the fight against terror. A main pillar of the cooperation in this field is NATO’s proposal to the Mediterranean nations to take part in NATO’s policing activities in the Mediterranean – Operation Active Endeavour (OAE). Israel had accepted NATO’s proposal to take part in the operation.
    Out of the NATO’s recognition regarding the importance of the Mediterranean nations in the fight against terror, is was decided, in the Prague Summit of 2003, to substantially upgrade the Mediterranean dialogue by defining a list of areas in which actual progress should be achieved – crisis management, air traffic, the planning of emergency formations, participation in exercises and more. Upgrading the dialogue had reached another peak in the Istanbul Summit of 2004 in which two official papers were ratified:
    1) A more ambitious and expanded framework for the Mediterranean Dialogue - Who’s aim is a further upgrading of the Mediterranean dialogue up to the point of turning it into a wide partnership in line with the needs of the participating nations and NATO, a partnership that will make increased use of PfP tools, will put more emphasis of practical cooperation including an accelerated political dialogue, interoperability, defense reform, and fight against terror.
    2) Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) – this is a route to the expanded Mediterranean region (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar…) which is based on the Mediterranean dialogue principals, but which is confined to practical-bilateral cooperation issues.
    In the framework of the continuation of the upgrading of the dialogue NATO had presented the Mediterranean nations (In the spring of 2005) with the Individual Cooperation Program (ICP) which is a bilateral framework aimed to enable better planning of the cooperation with NATO. Israel was the first of the Mediterranean nations to accept NATO’s proposal to join the ICP and is currently in negotiations with NATO regarding the issue.