NATO’s response to Israel’s provocative attacks on its member states

Israel attacked four flagged ships belonging to NATO member states during the recent Freedom Flotilla terrorist attack:

Greece: The Eleftheri Mesogeios and Sfendoni

Turkey: The Gazze

USA: The Challenger I

The Challenger II, which was to be a member of the flotilla but which was sidelined by mechanical problems, also carries the American flag.

NATO's response to this attack on ships belonging to NATO members:

Today the North Atlantic Council (NAC) met for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the recent Israeli operation against ships bound for Gaza. There was an extensive exchange of views among Allies on all aspects of this tragic event.

I would like to express my deep regret over the loss of lives and the other casualties resulting from the use of force during the incident involving the convoy sailing to Gaza. I offer sincere condolences to the families of all victims and condemn the acts which have led to this tragedy. I add my voice to the calls by the United Nations and the European Union for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation into the incident.

As a matter of urgency, I also request the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.

Yet The North Atlantic Treaty states:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

Article 6

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

So far, NATO's response has been, shall we say, measured….

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