What Mitsotakis discussed with Netanyahu behind closed doors: "Humanitarian corridors must open"

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on 23 October 2023

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis travelled to Israel on Monday after the postponement of his visit last Thursday. The government staff kept his visit top secret, only confirming information once the prime minister set foot on Israeli soil.

For Mitsotakis, the visit had a two-fold goal: to support a strategic ally of Greece practically, but at the same time to emphasise that there must be humanitarian care and that Israel's response should be commensurate with the strikes by Hamas.

Accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs George Gerapetritis, the Minister of State Stavros Papastavrou, who has a central role in international contacts, the director of his diplomatic office Anna Maria Boura and the special advisor for diplomacy Aristotelia Peloni, Mitsotakis heard from Benjamin Netanyahu a detailed description of the situation on the ground, but also dramatic stories of Israelis who fell victim to the murderous attacks of Hamas.

The prime minister also met with families of hostages of the Palestinian terrorist organisation.

The question, however, is whether Mitsotakis received the message that the Israelis will put into practice what they are publicly announcing about a sweeping ground operation.

The answer from a well-informed source is that the Israelis let the Greek side know that what happened is their 9/11; in this light, the response to Hamas should be sweeping, given that Netanyahu likened it to ISIS.

However, the operational details of such a development should have been disclosed.

Humanitarian Corridors

As pointed out by sources to Proto Thema, Mitsotakis focused particularly on the humanitarian side, beyond his self-evident support for Israel's right to self-defence.

The prime minister specifically pointed to the need to keep humanitarian corridors open to supply civilians in Gaza, something to which Benjamin Netanyahu also seemed willing to agree. There is also an agreement with the USA for the humanitarian corridor through Rafah in Egypt to remain open.

Government officials pointed out that given Greece's role in the wider region, Athens can speak frankly to everyone.

"Mitsotakis spoke to Netanyahu, as he also spoke at the Cairo Summit," says an associate of the prime minister.

For example, on Saturday in Cairo, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was perhaps the only leader who directly called on his counterparts from Arab countries to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organisation. At the same time, Greece stressed the need for Israel not to react in a way that will spread the war.

"The law of war also prohibits collective punishment"

"In other words, there are innocent people from both sides who should not be involved in the conflict," Peloni mentioned yesterday, speaking to ERT.

At the Summit

However, a discussion on the situation prevailing in the Middle East will also take place on Thursday at the EU leaders meeting, as there are different lines between the Union member states.

The leaders had the opportunity to have a first discussion a few days ago via video conference, while yesterday, the foreign ministers also met in Luxembourg. However, given the seriousness of the situation and the lack of willingness of the countries to have another war front away from Ukraine, everyone is trying to mediate with Israel to prevent a generalised conflict.

It indicates that, while the motorcade of Mitsotakis was leaving Jerusalem yesterday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrived, while French President Emmanuel Macron will be in Israel today.

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