Tue, Oct 19, 2010 | By Crethi Plethi
Greece and Israel Signed New Aviation Treaty
Israel’s ties with Greece intensifies amid Israel’s deteriorating relations with Turkey, Greece’s historical rival.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas have signed an aviation treaty yesterday [Monday, 18 October]. The aviation treaty has replaced a previous aviation agreement, signed in 1952, between Israel and Greece.
Dimitris Droustas’s visit came just four days after Greece and Israel concluded a four-day joint military exercise.
The new aviation agreement covers a variety of subjects concerning aviation relations between the two countries and is aimed at promoting the aviation relationship between the countries, including the appointing of additional carriers, enabling up to two carriers to service each side for each destination (instead of the present one), establishing rules for setting rates, establishing guidelines for settling differences through negotiation, mediation and arbitration, establishing a schedule of routes, setting up guidelines for mutual criticism of the agreement and the appointed air carriers regarding compliance with safety regulations that relate to aviation facilities, flight teams, aircraft or their operation, and other subjects. [MFA press release; Mon, Oct 18, 2010]
Prior to the signing of the agreement, FM Liberman and FM Droutsas met in a private session, and in an extended meeting discussed the bilateral relationship, the situation in the region and negotiations with the Palestinians. At the signing ceremony, which was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, FM Liberman stated that there is a good and close level of cooperation between Israel and Greece, and that this relationship is beneficial not only to the two countries but to the entire region. [MFA press release; Mon, Oct 18, 2010]
The deteriorating relations with Turkey has led to a significant warming of Israel’s ties with other traditional Turkish rivals in the region, such as Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece. Until recently, Jerusalem viewed Greece as having a pro-Palestinian stance and one of the least friendly countries toward Israel in Europe.
In an interview by The Jerusalem Post, the Greek PM Droutsas said:
“We don’t see any competitive dimension between the relationship we are developing with Israel and our relationship with Turkey. This is because each of these relationships has its own dynamic and its own historical background. What we are doing is writing new pages in the history of Greek-Israeli relations.”
Israel is not viewing Greece as a replacement for Turkey, but many in the Israeli public does seem to think otherwise and view Greece as a good alternative for Turkey.
Israeli tourism to Turkey is down 90 percent, while Greece experiences an increase of Israeli Tourism.