Israel-Gaza War Poll: Over 65% of respondents believe Greece should be neutral, 18% pro-Israel

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

The war between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza is escalating and, at the same time, dividing Greek opinion. This was evident in a poll conducted by GPO and presented on Star TV on Wednesday.

When asked, “What do you think Greece should do (in the Israel-Gaza War?)”

- 65.4% of respondents believe Greece should strictly be neutral,
- 18.4% believe Greece should take a pro-Israel stance,
- 11.5% believe Greece should take a pro-Palestine stance,
- 4.7% didn’t know.

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Greece calls for protection of civilians in Israel-Palestine conflict

Meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated the need to protect civilians, release Israelis held by Hamas, and avoid a humanitarian crisis, according to a statement by the Greek Prime Minister’s Office.

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

“I am here not only as an ally but as a true friend. What happened was really horrible. Greece has from the first moment defended and supported Israel's right to self-defense, in accordance with international law,” he said.

Netanyahu, for his part, appreciated the solidarity of the Greek government and people.

Kotsiras: Greece has 'strengthened its diplomatic capital' through its stance on Middle East crisis

Deputy Foreign Minister Giorgos Kotsiras on Wednesday said that Greece, "with its stable, responsible and direct position" regarding the crisis in Israel and the Middle East, has "strengthened its diplomatic capital and is able to have both a say and a role".

In an interview with the public broadcaster ERT, Kotsiras noted that Greece had, from the first moment, adopted a clear stance of principle.

From the first days of the crisis, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis had condemned Hamas' terror attack and supported Israel's right to self defence in accordance with international law, as well as the need to free the hostages, protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors.

"The Greek foreign policy is not opportunist, it is not coincidental, it is not transactional," underlined Kotsiras.

Additionally, he said that Greek authorities abroad are on alert in order to protect Greek citizens.

Mitsotakis reiterates Greece's 4-point stance on the Middle East at doorstep statements.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated Greece's stance on developments in the Middle East at doorstep statements ahead of the European Council Summit in Brussels on Thursday.

At the two-day Summit, EU leaders will discuss the unfolding situation in the Middle East, continued support for Ukraine in Russia’s war of aggression, the EU's long-term budget, the economy, migration and external relations.

Mitsotakis said that Greece's position is based on four main points: Israel's right to lawful self-defence, in agreement with the international humanitarian law; the humanitarian crisis at the Gaza Strip and the need to open an aid corridor, possibly adding a ceasefire; the EU's duty to ensure that the conflict does not get out of control to affect the entire Middle East; and Greece's steadfast commitment to the two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian issue.

He added that he would speak by phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later in the day to convey Greece's support of the two-state solution in the Middle East.

"I will not tire of saying that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and does not express the just rights of the Palestinian people," Mitsotakis stated.

President Sakellaropoulou: Greece will continue to promote its national interests

President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Thursday expressed her concern over the major crisis now unfolding in the Middle East, in combination with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, while speaking at a lunch hosted in her honour by the Commander of the 3rd Army Corps, Lieutenant General Paris Kapravelos, at the Officers' Mess in Thessaloniki.

"In this turbulent and volatile international environment, Greece will continue to promote its national interests and to steadily promote its rights, deflecting all attempts at dangerous revisionism," she said.

"The horrific attack against Israel, the barbarism and cruelty that Hamas showed toward civilians, as well as the pounding of the Gaza Strip that inevitably leaves innocent victims in its wake are shocking," the president continued.

"A new bloody cycle of violence has begun in the Middle East, provoking turmoil at a global level, and threatens to drag more countries into military conflict with tragic and unpredictable consequences for international peace," she added.

Sakellaropoulou also noted that Greece steadfastly supports Israel's right to self defence but always with respect for the rules of international humanitarian law and ensuring the protection of the civilians in Gaza Strip. She stressed the importance of opening up corridors for humanitarian aid to civilians trapped by the conflict and releasing the hostages and prisoners of war.

"Finally, we must all be united and determined in dealing with extremism and bigotry, the blind attacks against civilians and the multiplying incidents of antisemitism which, unfortunately, are on the rise in European cities," she added.

On Greek-Turkish relations, Sakellaropoulou noted that "over time our country seeks to have good neighbourly relations with Turkiye, remaining open to a dialogue based on international law and with no concessions as regards issues of national sovereignty and sovereign rights".

READ MORE: Greece recorded the largest debt reduction in the Eurozone since 2019.

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