[Marxism] Netanyahu's big fat Greek Wedding
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
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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