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Time for Israel to Pivot to the Eastern Mediterranean

Ma’ariv, Israel, June 14

In the past few years, a new unexpected strategic alliance formed in the Eastern Mediterranean: one between Israel, Cyprus and Greece. Recent rumors about the plan of the three countries to open up their borders to one another without requiring a 14-day quarantine period are just one of many manifestations of the warm ties that exist between Jerusalem, Athens and Nicosia. Israel’s growing attention to the Eastern Mediterranean region is unsurprising. It has a lot to do with the country’s recent discoveries of oil fields in its territorial waters bordering these countries. The three countries have even signed a memorandum of understanding, backed by the European Union, on the establishment of an ambitious underwater gas pipeline stretching from Israel to Europe. The truth is that the time has come for Israel to leverage its alliance with these two countries in order to promote a lasting peace agreement with the Palestinians. The reigniting of the peace process, and not unilateral annexations, is what ought to be the current priority of the Israeli government. The Eastern Mediterranean perspective can reinvigorate the peace talks and introduce creative new ideas on a solution to the conflict, including pressing issues like the declining humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Gulf States, and the promotion of the two-state solution. – Nimrod Goren (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)