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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Greece is the hero, but why?

Greece has been the hero over the last two weeks, essentially killing the flotilla of fools. Those of you who have been reading this blog are probably not surprised - you already know that in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara, Israel made a conscious effort to improve relations with Greece, which has included joint military exercises and expanded trade and tourism. But for those of you who are new to this blog, here's a quick summary.
Greece and Israel have become very much closer recently and some of that surely is the result of Turkey making what appears to be a strategic decision to enhance its ties with Iran and Syria over Israel and the West. Considering an international fact that disturbs them both, Greece and Israel appear to have decided to consider their options. In addition, Israel has escaped the ruinous economic problems of other countries - there is no lack in Greece of appreciation for Prime Minister Netanyahu's economic prowess as Finance Minister and the resulting strong Israeli economy. Israel needs friends in the Mediterranean and a partner for military, search and rescue and other operations that coordinate with NATO - if Turkey can't be the partner, Greece can.

The Greek-Israeli rapprochement is actually the result of only a strategic few people in each country over the past year looking around at the threats and problems, and deciding that Western countries have the most in common and the most to gain from cooperation.

Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, the UN has given copies of its report on the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident of 2010 and it is Turkey - not Israel - that is unhappy with the findings. Israeli government sources say the report criticizes the Turkish government and highlights the relationship between it and the IHH, and while the UN does find that Israeli commandos used "excessive force," it also accepts Israel's contention that they acted in self-defense.

The demise of the 2011 flotilla isn't the end of the diplomatic crises Israel faces - but it is a welcome success engendered by willingness of the Greek government to do the right thing. A few more such successes (including the increasing international understanding that accepting "Palestine" as a UN member outside the normal channels is a bad idea) and Israel may find itself - a Western, liberal, democratic country - in the company of like-minded others, worrying about the future we all face.

During the 2011 JINSA Flag & General Officers Trip, Lieut. Gen. Benny Ganz, IDF Chief of Staff, told the participants, "Don't forget - this is the edge of the Western world; then it becomes the East." We are happy - and not surprised - that Greece has assimilated the message.
The top flag in the picture is Greece's, the bottom one is Cyprus' flag - another country with which Israel has improved relations over the past year.

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At 9:12 PM, Blogger valthunder said...

it's a good thing that Israel is looking for other partners in the world but, from an estrategic point of view, I don't know how reliable Greece can be.
With they domestic economy ruined, Greece can be pressured very easly by the big powers of the EU (France and Germany).

At 11:43 PM, Blogger DavidW said...

Apropos of General Gantz's remarks: For those fortunate enough to have visited the Hebrew University's Mt Scopus Campus, you will appreciate that for years I would take visitors to its eastern most parking lot, which rests on a huge concrete retaining wall abuting the desert. To the East, one sees the rolling waves of unending sand hills leading off as far as the eye can see. I would point out to them they were standing on the eastern edge of Western Civilization.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Good news, small countries should stick together! Although it's also sad to see Israel's relationship with Turkey suffer. I have never forgiven Erdogen for the way he threw a tantrum at your President. Hopefully that can all be repaired as well.


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