Israel, Greece Constructing New Radar System on Crete, Report Says

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The Island of Spinalonga, Leper Island, Elounda, Crete, Greece
The Island of Spinalonga, Leper Island, Elounda, Crete, GreeceCredit: joe daniel price / Getty Images

Israel and Greece are building a new marine radar system in eastern Crete, according to a recent report in the Greek daily Kathimerini. The paper said the new surface radar will be able to track at long range, beyond the horizon, and both Israel and Greece will have access to its enhanced coverage.

The report added that the project is part of the broad political alliance among Israel, Greece and Cyprus.

Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19

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As Noa Landau reported in Haaretz, relations between Jerusalem and Athens have grown closer in recent years. Military and economic issues are paramount in these ties, with particular attention paid to exploiting both countries’ gas reserves.

The countries have been holding joint military drills. According to foreign reports, Greece has been softening its position on the Palestinian issue in international bodies.

>> Israel reaches deal with several Eastern Mediterranean countries to form regional gas market

Reuters reported in 2015 that Israel had trained against a Russian-supplied S-300 anti-missile system in Greece, ahead of the possible deployment of the system in Syria and in Iran.

Israel and Cyprus also have numerous shared regional interests, including the security situation in Syria and Lebanon and complicated relations with Turkey. Both countries have good relations with Egypt, to which both plan to export gas.

Israel and Cyprus have large gas reserves in their territorial waters and a desire to export gas to Europe together with Greece, an important strategic gateway to the continent.

Israel reported some of the largest gas finds in the past decade and Cyprus has confirmed a discovery, making them both potential exporters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem Wednesday, together with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu said Sunday the leaders will discuss the laying of a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe.

“This will bring vast revenue to state coffers that will be directed to the benefit of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said, adding that he will discuss with Pompeo the U.S. and Israeli efforts to thwart Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria and to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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