[Marxism] Netanyahu's big fat Greek Wedding

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 2 06:29:17 MDT 2011


Netanyahu's big fat Greek Wedding

Netanyahu has invested in his relationship with Greece over the course 
of the past year-and-a-half, and his gamble has finally paid off as 
Greece blocks Gaza-flotilla-bound departures from its ports.
By Barak Ravid Tags: Gaza flotilla Gaza Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sometimes seems almost too arrogant 
and self assured for his own good. However, unlike in most instances, 
this weekend he actually has justification for his haughtiness.

Netanyahu’s personal investment in his relationship over the past 
year-and-a-half with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in which he 
increased diplomatic ties with the floundering European nation seems to 
have put the final nail in the Gaza flotilla’s coffin.

In his speech Thursday night for the Israeli Air Force Flight School 
graduation ceremony, Netanyahu discussed diplomatic efforts being made 
to prevent the Gaza flotilla from setting sail. The only leader that 
Netanyahu mentioned by name in his address was Greece’s George Papandreou.

Just a day earlier, the prime minister spoke with his Greek counterpart, 
imploring him to issue an order preventing ships from disembarking from 
Greece toward the Gaza Strip. Unlike in the past, Papandreou responded 
positively, and a top Israeli official involved in the talks between the 
Greek prime minister and Netanyahu said that Israel knew as early as 
Thursday afternoon that Greece was planning to block ships from leaving 
its ports toward the strip.

The romance between Netanyahu and Papandreou began in February of 2010, 
when the two met coincidentally at the “Pushkin” restaurant in Moscow. 
Netanyahu took advantage of their chance encounter to speak with the 
Greek prime minister about Turkish extremism against Israel and the two 
quickly became friends.

The Israeli and Greek leaders have spoken to each other at least once a 
week ever since they met in Moscow.

The Turkish flotilla to Gaza in May of 2010 led to serious concern among 
the intelligence and military ranks in Greece, who began pressuring the 
government to strengthen diplomatic ties with Israel. Papandreou did not 
need much convincing.

In July of 2010 he arrived in Jerusalem, the first official visit of a 
Greek prime minister to Israel in 30 years. A few weeks later Netanyahu 
travelled to Athens, spending a whole day with Papandreou and other 
officials on a nearby island.

Israeli diplomats can attest that the budding friendship between the two 
countries over the course of the past year-and-a-half has been nothing 
short of dramatic. Intelligence communication has increased, the IAF has 
conducted a number of joint exercises with Greece’s air force and 
Netanyahu has requested Papandreou’s assistance in passing on several 
messages to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Many of Netanyahu and Papandreou’s talks in the past few months have 
revolved around the severe financial crisis Greece is currently 
suffering. Netanyahu recently decided to come to the aid of his newfound 
friend in a meeting of foreign ministers and European leaders, imploring 
them to provide Greece with financial aid.

“Netanyahu has become Greece’s lobbyist to the European Union,” an 
Israeli diplomat said.

In recent weeks, as efforts to stop the impending pro-Palestinian 
flotilla to Gaza came to a head, Netanyahu reaped the benefits of his 
investment in Israel-Greece ties and his gamble on the European country 
paid off.

He was able to create a viable alternative to relations with Turkey in 
several regards, showing Erdogan that Israel will not hesitate to become 
close to its greatest enemy in the West.

And when the moment of truth came, Greece followed through and ordered 
all Gaza-bound departures be blocked from leaving its ports. Greece’s 
decision, along with the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation's (IHH) 
announcement that it would not be sending the Mavi Marmara and the 
president of Cypress’s statement forbidding ships from sailing to Gaza 
sealed the fate of the flotilla almost entirely.

“The flotilla organizers did not take into account that Greece of July 
2011 is not the Greece of May 2010,” said a top Israeli official that 
worked intensively in the past few months to prevent the Gaza flotilla 
mission from taking place.

“Today there is a different Greece when it comes to Israel,” he added. 
“The organizers of the flotilla did not understand this, and now they 
are paying the price.”

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