Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday again referred to Israel’s right to defend itself, while at the same time citing a concern over the “proportionality of Israel’s response”.
Mitsotakis’ comments were made during a podcast aired by Politico.
“…While (the EU) has recognized that Israel has a right to defend itself, how it does so actually matters and it matters considerably,” Mitsotakis said, adding:
“That is why we have also been at the forefront – and when I say ‘we’, I speak about Greece – in recognizing the need for a humanitarian pause in order to be able to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, to facilitate with the hostage negotiations but also to allow for people who are currently in Gaza, who want to leave and have the capability to leave…to do so in conditions of safety,” he said.
Emphasizing that he was speaking as a friend of Israel, “and that sometimes friends have to speak in hard truths to friends,” Mitsotakis added that “at the end of the day we should not undermine what is a strategic goal, to defeat Hamas, but we should also try to consider what will be the day after, what is going to be the arrangement that will govern Gaza the day after…and not make it inconceivable on the day after to talk about political solutions to the problem.”
Asked about Greek-Turkish relations, Mitsotakis cited a “different tone” in recent months by Ankara, while again stressing his support for improved bilateral ties.
The Greek PM expressed hope that both sides will be able to cooperate on matters beyond the only difference recognized by Athens, namely, delimitating maritime zones.
Paris con’f on humanitarian aid
In a related development, Mitsotakis on Thursday met in Paris with the Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. The meeting came shortly before participation in an international humanitarian conference for Gaza’s civilians, which is taking place in the French capital.
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip dominated the meeting, according to reports.
Mitsotakis reportedly reiterated his concern over civilian losses in Gaza and underlined the need for a “humanitarian pause” in order to transport aid to the Palestinian enclave.
He also cited his government’s willingness to provide humanitarian aid and Athens’ contacts with the Republic of Cyprus, and others, over the possibility of using a maritime route for the transport of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Finally, Mitsotakis repeated to his Palestinian interlocutor that Greece considers Hamas a terrorist organization, one that does not represent the Palestinian people.
Back in Athens, government spokesperson Pavlos Marinakis reminded that while at the Paris conference Mitsotakis has repeatedly cited Greece’s position many times: support for Israel’s right to self-defense and condemnation of Hamas.
Asked about the Politico interview, Marinakis said the “…prime minister … expressed heightened concern over the tragedy of innocent civilians (lost) and the horrifying images from Gaza, and I believe that while we recognize Israel’s right to defend itself, how it does so matters.”