Netanyahu to ask Greece and Cyprus to ease European opposition to annexation plan 

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Israeli political sources revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is arriving today to Israel, and Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades, who will arrive on a similar visit next week, to work to alleviate the position of the European Union on the plan to annex Occupied Palestinian Territories and the imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlements.

These sources said that the two visits are considered exceptional, as the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic reduced the minimum visits of leaders of countries outside their countries and led to the adoption of methods of meetings via the Internet. However, the arrival of Greek and Cypriot officials indicates the vitality of the issues they want to discuss, and are focused on security cooperation with Israel in the face of regional threats, on the one hand, and moving the issue of gas and cooperation in general in energy affairs on the other hand. For this purpose, each of them arrives with a group of specialized ministers; The Greek leader brings 6 ministers with a deputy minister, and the Cypriot president brings with him three ministers.

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Netanyahu, who is also concerned with these two issues, wants to take the opportunity to recruit both Athens and Nicosia, alongside him, in the face of European threats to impose sanctions on Israel over the issue of annexation.

During the past two days, Netanyahu held two extended meetings with his alternate prime minister and security minister Benny Gantz, and foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi, the leaders of the “alcohol-la-la” party, in the presence of the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, in an attempt to reach an agreement in the government coalition over the annexation scheme, Its size, timing and implementation. They were unable to reach an agreement on the controversial issue.

Political sources in Tel Aviv said that Gantz and Ashkenazi insist that the size of the annexation be “small and non-provocative”, and demand that it be implemented in several stages, starting with the annexation of major settlements, such as “Maaleh Adumim” (south of Jerusalem) and “Ariel” (west of Nablus) And the “Gush Etzion” area, between Bethlehem and Hebron, in the West Bank, and they want to conduct a constructive dialogue with Jordan, and they refuse to make the annexation unilaterally. As for Netanyahu, he insists on implementing the annexation as large as possible, including the Jordan Valley, and requests that the annexation be separate from the clause of establishing a Palestinian state. It is noted that Netanyahu warns of entering into a clash with the settler leadership demanding that he fulfill his promises and pledge to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The sources said that Friedman plays the role of the biased mediator, as he enthusiastically supports Netanyahu’s position. The sources confirmed that the parties decided to hold another meeting within the coming days, and that the decisive decision on the matter will come from Washington, and it will be taken by the President’s chief adviser, Gard Kushner, who prepares the planner and the roadmap for making changes in it, and is calculated from the closest associates of President Donald Trump. He insists that Netanyahu and Gantz come up with a united conclusion about the annexation.

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