Israel figures it can’t have too much of a good thing with its Occupation of Palestine. Now it proposes to expand it to Cyprus as well, under slightly different terms. Occupation by any other name would be just as sweet.
A Turkish news report in Hurriyet says that Bibi Netanyahu recently held talks with his Greek Cypriot counterpart about joint Israeli-Cypriot energy ventures in the Mediterranean. Hurriyet claims that Netanyahu offered to build and pay for the plant that would process the gas that was extracted. In return, he demanded that Israel provide the 10,000 personnel that would be necessary to run the operation. The article mentions a total of 30,000 personnel involved in the entire operation. I wasn’t clear whether all these were to be Israeli and whether this included the security forces mentioned below.
This of course would create a massive security threat for Israel. To answer this problem, the Israeli prime minister suggested stationing 20,000 IDF troops on the island to protect the plant and its Israeli personnel. All this involves bringing at least 30,000 Israeli workers and soldiers to a very small island that has been embroiled in one of the most incendiary ethnic conflicts in the eastern Mediterranean. This strikes me as a further extension of Occupation from Palestine to Cyprus. Now Israel would occupy a massive energy concession on a foreign island that is contested between its Turkish enemy and Greek ally. I can’t think of a better recipe for violence. Keep in mind that Cyprus has witnessed one war already between those two nations. Introduce a third nation with a history of serial warfare against its neighbors and who knows what could happen.
Add to this the fact that Israeli military jets deliberately invaded Turkish Cypriot airspace last week and were chased off by Turkish jets and you have yet more examples of how hostilities could break out. Would we care to witness a repeat of the incidents involving U.S. and Chinese planes dueling in Asian skies a few years ago?