BERLIN — NATO’s secretary-general said Saturday that the alliance wouldn’t come to Israel’s defense in case of attack by Iran.
Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine Der Spiegel that Israel is a partner, but not a member and that NATO’s “security guarantee” doesn’t apply to the Jewish state.
Stoltenberg said NATO isn’t involved in Mideast peace efforts or in conflicts in the region.
NATO’s treaty requires the alliance to militarily defend members nations, of which there are 28, but not partner ones. Still, partner states regularly contribute to NATO operations such as those in Afghanistan and naval missions off Somalia and in the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel has been a partner of NATO since 1994. From 2010 to 2016, its attempts to open an official mission at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels were stymied by Turkey.
He spoke at a time of rising Israel-Iran tensions. Israel has been waging a campaign to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent presence in Syria and Lebanon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also led opposition the Iran nuclear deal, calling for it to be scrapped or fixed. The US withdrew last month.