[Ismini Vlassopoulou/InTime News]
The visit by outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Athens and his meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos is seen as a gesture of goodwill to clear any lingering doubts from the recent cancellation of his trip to Kalamata, on the very day his trip to Ankara was announced.
What’s more, it also conveys a message regarding the strategic relationship the two countries have established in the security sector.
Yet more substantial is the visit to Athens, within the next 10 days, of the permanent director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, signifying Israel’s long-term commitment.
The contacts come in the wake of the emergence of a new government under the veteran Benjamin Netanyahu, whose good chemistry with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was confirmed in their communication on November 4.
Moreover, the Israelis seem to believe that through various channels available within and outside their country, they can help, in cooperation with the US, in reducing Greek-Turkish tensions.
For his part, Netanyahu has already assured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he too wishes to see continued efforts to normalize relations between Turkey and Israel.
However, as all those who follow Israeli affairs are in a position to know, Netanyahu, unlike his predecessors, has quite different views on the process to be followed. This does not mean that there will be setbacks, especially on the part of the exchange of diplomatic missions and technical committees to restart economic relations.
Much will be decided in the course of Turkish-Israeli relations by the attitude of Erdogan and his government in the tough election period, which is already in full swing. It is questionable whether at this stage Erdogan will drop the Islamist rhetoric he has used over the past decade or ease the reluctance to sever ties with Hamas.