Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pays a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, carrying out the first visit by a Greek prime minister to Israel since three decades. Among the issues to be discussed during the visit is the situation in Gaza and ways to find a final a viable solution to the humanitarian problem, the Palestinian problem, the prospects created by the indirect negotiations and the possibility for direct talks between the two sides, the situation in Lebanon and the general climate in the Middle East.
Talking about crisis…
During a meeting with Israel’s president Shimon Peres, Greek PM got advice about how to deal psychologically with the economic crisis.
Shimon Peres said to George Papandreou “to show inner calm. I believe you will emerge stronger from the crisis.”
Peres spoke of his experience as Israeli finance minister in the 1980s, when he helped bring triple-digit inflation under control.
“I wish Greece’s exit from this crisis and never return to the point where you found yourselves,” Peres told Papandreou. “I wish you the end of the crisis to be a new start, Greece and Israel are now more than ever close to each other, historically, politically and in many other sectors, while we are every day assessing the improvement and development of our relations,” the Israeli president also pointed out (news wires)
Tensions with Turkey lead to warming relationship with Greece – from “Jerusalem Post”
People in government said there was no doubt that the recent tension with Turkey has led to a warming of the relationship between Israel and some of Turkey’s historic rivals, such as Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The Cypriot and Bulgarian foreign ministers paid visits to Israel earlier this year.
According to one diplomatic official, the Greeks – looking at the Israeli-Turkish, and Turkish-US tensions – are realizing that strategic alliances in the region are changing, and that this might be a good time to get closer to Israel as a way of warming ties with Washington.
When Israel had a close strategic alliance with Turkey, the official said, Athens gave up any thought of forging such an alliance with Israel.
But now the situation with Ankara has changed, and Athens is seeing more opportunities with Israel.
Diplomatic officials also said that Greece’s economic difficulties also had something to do with the warming of ties, with Athens working on the assumption that if it raised its diplomatic profile, and started to be seen as a significant player in the region, then this might help it convince the international community to give it the economic assistance it seeks.