By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz – 4 July 2011
Greek and Israeli air forces hold two-week-long drill as the two countries’ ties tighten following Greek government’s attempt to halt the Gaza-bound flotilla from departing
Israel’s Air Force on Monday concluded a two-week drill with the Hellenic Air Force as the two nations cemented growing ties between their militaries, recently reflected in Greece’s recent move to halt a Gaza-bound flotilla set to depart from its shores.
The joint drill was held at Greece’s Larisa Air Base, and several elite Israeli squadrons, along with the IDF’s elite rescue unit 669 took part in the exercise along with the Greek military.
Over the past few days Greece has been working to stop the pro-Palestinian flotilla from departing to Gaza. On Sunday, the Greek government offered to transport the flotilla’s aid to Gaza as a compromise in order to end the affair.
According to the Greek initiative, the humanitarian aid aboard flotilla ships will be loaded onto watercraft of the Greek government and transferred to Gaza via the organized channels, as was requested by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon two weeks ago. This means the aid would go through either the Ashdod port or Arish, and from there be taken to the Gaza Strip under the supervision of Greek and UN authorities.
The Greek government has already approached the United Nations and Israel to assess the possibility of transferring the humanitarian aid via Israel or Egypt to the Gaza Strip using Greek governmental ships, under UN supervision.