image Photo: Reuters

Israel Considers Joining US-Led Maritime Coalition

Jerusalem is considering the option of joining the U.S. led coalition to block hostile activities in the strait of Hormuz, in a move that will expand Israel’s proactive efforts to assist Washington and its allies in the field of intelligence.

During a meeting of the Israeli parliament’s temporary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which is chaired by Knesset Member Avi Dichter, Israel’s possible admission to the American initiated taskforce was discussed. The most vocal supporter of joining the coalition is Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, who insisted that Israel’s active involvement – in addition to the already extensive intelligence efforts – is a key interest for Jerusalem.

In addition to standing by Israel’s most important ally, the United States, Minister Katz asserted that it would also have political implication with regard to Israel’s relations with the Arab Gulf states. The Israeli top diplomat explained that “The main goal is to bring about a game changer in our relations with the Gulf states,” while revealing that “Only recently (he) met with a senior personality in the United Arab Emirates” which resulted in “significant understandings.”

As such, the Foreign Minister underlined that his “goal, with full backing of the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu), is to take action for an overt normalization and for signed and open treaties with the (Arab) Gulf states.”

During a signing ceremony of a new joint partnership between Australia and the NATO alliance, the country’s Defense Minister revealed that Canberra is considering a request by both Washington and London to join the American-led taskforce, to assure Freedom of navigation in international waters in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf. According to Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds,”Yes we did, we have had discussions about what’s happening in the Middle East. I can reiterate that the Australian government is, remains very concerned about the increased tensions in the Straits of Hormuz and we are considering the American request, and also now the request from the United Kingdom, but we have not yet made any decision.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on his part, underscored a collective concern by all NATO allies regarding freedom of navigation in particular, and the destabilizing activities of the Islamic republic of Iran across the Middle East, in general. Stoltenberg said: “We are, of course, extremely concerned about the situation in the Straits of Hormuz and all allies are also concerned about the destabilizing activities of Iran in the region – it’s a supporter to different terrorist groups, it’s missile program, and all allies also agree that Iran should never be able to develop any nuclear weapons. Freedom of navigation is extremely important for NATO, for NATO allies.”

Many countries around the world are currently deliberating the American request to form a naval coalition, as Washington sent official invitations to over 60 nations. Despite Germany’s refusal to join the multinational taskforce, many countries have already committed their navies to the American request, including the United Kingdom, France and Japan – among other nations.