Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrived on Monday in Israel to express his solidarity with the country following Hamas’ terror attack and push for an improvement in humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
He met the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis:
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 23, 2023
Mitsotakis expressed his pain at the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel. He also underlined Israel’s right to self-defense according to international law.
He reiterated the need to protect civilians, free Israelis held hostage by Hamas and avoid a humanitarian crisis.
Dear PM @netanyahu, I am here not just as an ally, but as a friend. Greece supports Israel's right to self-defense in line with International Law. It's important to stress the need to protect civilians, to free Israelis held hostage by Hamas and to avoid a humanitarian crisis. pic.twitter.com/G6wTTZWsQx
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) October 23, 2023
On his part, Netanyahu said: “I appreciate your solidarity, your government and the Greek people, in this dark hour. It is a battle of civilization against barbarism. We are on the side of civilization and we must all unite against Hamas, which is the Islamic State (ISIS).”
The Greek PM’s visit to Israel, which had been scheduled for last week, was postponed due to security concerns.
On Saturday, Netanyahu met with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides. He described Israel’s war against Hamas as “a battle of civilization against barbarism.”
“What we saw in Gaza, along our communities is beyond [words],” he told Christodoulides. “It is savagery that is the worst that we’ve seen against Jewish people since the Holocaust.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Cypriot President Christodoulides:
"It is a battle of civilization against barbarism. What we saw in Gaza, along our communities is beyond description.
It is savagery that is the worst that we've seen against Jewish people since the Holocaust." pic.twitter.com/F5RaYcksII
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 21, 2023
Mitsotakis calls for a two-state solution for Israel-Palestinian conflict
“No military intervention can replace a viable political solution,” Mitsotakis added.
The key message “we need to send today is that we all condemn terrorism in all its forms, and mourn the loss of life and harm to innocent civilians from the violence in Israel and Gaza following the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas,” he said.
“There are innocent victims on both sides,” while “there are civilians being held hostage and there can be no peace talks until they are released,” he stressed. He emphasized that Greece’s position was clear from the beginning regarding the fact that Israel has the right to self-defense in accordance with international and humanitarian law.
Mitsotakis pointed out that collective punishment is prohibited by laws governing wars, and that this legislation is designed to ensure the limits of harm that can be inflicted on people during an active war.
The Greek PM also pointed out that Hamas is a terrorist organization that causes losses and inflicts pain to both Israelis and Palestinians, and that it “should not be frustratingly identified with the Palestinian people.”
“The Palestinian people do not deserve this,” he added. “President Abbas, who represents the Palestinian Authority, has bravely stood against violence since the beginning of the crisis.”
Israel intensifies bombing of Gaza
The Greek PM’s trip comes as Israel says it hit 320 more targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Monday, while Palestinian authorities say homes were hit “without warning.”
Israel’s defense minister said the campaign could take “one month, two months, three months…at the end there will be no more Hamas.” He also hinted at a ground attack but says before Hamas “meets our tanks and our infantry, they will know the shells from our air force.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli military has given a new update on Monday on the number of hostages held in Gaza, saying 222 people are now confirmed to be held captive.