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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Cyprus’

Israel Denies Reports it is Seeking to Deploy 20,000 Troops to Cyprus

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Israel has denied a Turkish news report claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested permission to deploy 20,000 soldiers to Cyprus in exchange for building a gas terminal on the island, according to Turkish Daily Today’s Zaman.

Anatolia News Agency had earlier reported that Netanyahu made the request to Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias when he visited Greek Cyprus in February. The report went on to say that due to Cyprus’ current financial straits, Israel offered to build a gas terminal – which the report states will cost $10 billion – on condition that all 10,000 construction workers be Israeli citizens and that 20,000 Israeli “commandos” be deployed to protect the workers and the terminal.

Quoting a Cypriot official, Netanyahu was also reported to have said, “Give us an air and a naval base and I will immediately prohibit investment on the Turkish side of the island with a decision in the Israeli Parliament.” Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island and helped established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which it supports economically, politically, and militarily. Northern Cyprus is not recognized as an independent state (other than by Turkey), and is considered by the international community to be occupied territory.

The report comes amid an uptick of activity in the Cypriot theater on both the Israeli and Turkish sides. Turkey is extremely wary of Cyprus’ burgeoning relationship with Israel, especially as it relates to the recently-discovered natural gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, and it disputes the demarcation of maritime borders recently agreed upon by the two countries.

Last Friday, Turkey’s government issued a warning to 15 companies that submitted bids in a Cypriot tender for oil exploration in the Mediterranean. “The companies which cooperate with GKRY (the Greek Cypriot administration) will not be included in energy projects in Turkey in the future,” a Foreign Ministry statement said on Saturday. Among the firms that made a bid were Israel’s Delek, ATP of the US, Russia’s Novatec, Italy’s ENI, France’s Total, Malaysia’s Petronas, Canada’s Petra Petroleum, and Britain’s Vitol.

Also last week, the Turkish military revealed that it scrambled two F-16 jets to force an Israeli plane that had violated Northern Cyprus’ airspace to evacuate. The Turkish military stated that the Israeli plane violated its airspace five times for a total of eight minutes before retreating.

Still, there are signs of a thawing of the frosty Israel-Turkey relations. The Turkish daily Sabah reported on Saturday that Israel had repaired and returned four unmanned aerial Heron drones Turkey had sent to Israel for maintenance a couple of years ago. The last one, according to the report, will be returned “in the next few days.” The delay prompted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ask in September 2011: “Are they [the Israelis] even ethical? There can be problems amongst people and resentment; they can refrain from meeting with each other. All of this is possible, but when it comes to international agreements, there is an international trade ethic.”

Solomon Burke

Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Sign Underwater Electric Cable Deal

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

AFP reports that Israel and Cyprus have signed an accord Sunday to lay an underwater electricity cable between the two countries. It’s the first stage in an effort to transfer power between mainland Europe and Israel.

The cable, to be complete by 2016, will stretch 178 miles, at a depth of 6,550 feet.

Israel Electric Corporation CEO Yiftach Ron Tal declared at the signing that the “Euro-Asia Interconnect,” with the capacity to transfer 2,000 megawatt, will forever free Israel: “No more Israel as an economic island.”

Additional underwater cables will connect Cyprus and mainland Europe via Greece, who also signed the agreement. Israel’s Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said “Israel will be able to receive backup electricity from Cyprus and Europe, and in the future, we will be able to provide them with energy.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

PM Netanyahu in Cyprus: Sanctions Not Working

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in the first ever visit to Cyprus by an Israeli PM, said that sanctions against Iran have so far been ineffective.

“Iran is the most irresponsible force in the world. I hope the sanctions will have an effect, but so far they have not. We are dealing with a regime that violates every resolution and has no respect for international standards,” Netanyahu said, after holding talks with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias.

His comments come a day after Iran announced the achievement of another milestone in its nuclear enrichment program – the use of Iran’s first domestically made fuel rods.

Netanyahu’s one-day visit is intended to cement the burgeoning ties between Israel and Cyprus, and was used as an opportunity to sign a ‘search and rescue’ agreement between the two countries, whereby Israeli aircraft will be authorized to enter Cyprus’ airspace in the event of disaster, and vice versa.

The agreement also reflects the extent of the rupture in Israel-Turkey relations, as – for all intents and purposes – this agreement replaces a similar one between Israel and Turkey that had been revoked.

Jewish Press Staff Writer

Israel in Discussions to Stationing Israeli Air Force Jets on Cyprus

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to discuss the prospect of stationing Israeli Air Force jets on Cyprus when he visits the island later this month, according to a report by the Chinese news agency Xinua.

According to the report, an Israeli official told Xinua that the discussion “is at the exploratory stage – it’s not clear if it will or won’t happen.”

Relations between Cyprus and Israel have been intensifying since Israel’s fallout with its former regional ally and Cyprus’ adversary, Turkey. In January, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with his Cypriot counterpart to enter into and sign defense agreements.

 

Jewish Press Staff

PM Netanyahu to Visit Cyprus in February

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Cyprus next month to increase security coordination between the two countries and discuss cooperation on recent natural gas finds in Israeli and Cypriot waters.

In what is said to be the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to Cyprus, Netanyahu will reportedly sign a cooperation agreement relating to the protection of natural gas drilling sites, and also request to station Israeli aircraft in Cyprus.

The natural gas finds in Israeli and Cypriot waters coincide with the dramatic erosion in Israeli-Turkish relations to offer the two countries an opportunity to deepen strategic cooperation.

 

Jewish Press Staff

Before The Deluge: Jews Of The Mediterranean Islands (Part I)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The stories in this column are translations by Mr. Nollet from Die Juden In Der Welt (The Jews in the World) by Mark Wischnitzer, a long out-of-print book published more than seven decades ago in Germany. The book examines Jewish communities, one country at a time, as they existed in 1935 – a time before the Nazis began their extermination campaign against the Jews and before there was a state of Israel.

 

Jews Of The Mediterranean Islands

Cyprus (continued from last month)

Cyprus is about half the size of today’s Palestine and is mainly mountainous. A smaller chain of mountains stretches along the north coast; the main mountain range in the southwest of the island reaches to more than 2,000 meters above sea level and is covered with various species of pine trees. Between these two mountain ranges lies a high plateau with only minor changes in elevation, and makes up about a third of the island’s total surface.

There is a lot of wine produced, and various kinds of fruits, such as red currants, and olives. On the plateau grows wheat, barley, hops, wine, oranges, pomegranates, flax, cotton, and vegetables, particularly potatoes and onions.

Animal husbandry is practiced, with cattle, sheep, and donkeys exported to Palestine and Egypt.

Cyprus has a population of about 350,000, four-fifths of which is Greek and the other fifth Turkish. The native language is Greek but the language of government is English. The conditions of health are generally good, though there are spots of malaria.  The big harbors are Famagusta, Larnaca, and Limassol. The capital of Nicosia (25,000 inhabitants) lies not far from Larnaca.

Some 200,000 people feed themselves from agriculture, and there are mining activities in the southwest mountains. The wooded highlands are sought out for recreation purposes in the summer by people from Palestine, Syria, and Egypt. Over a third of the people live in cities, mainly as merchants. Attempts have been made to launch tanning and silk industries.

Rhodes

Rhodes is in the Aegean Sea, currently under Italian control. [Translator’s note: Rhodes was awarded to Greece after WWII and today remains Greek, though it lies within eyeshot of the Turkish mainland.] As early as the second century BCE it counted Jewish inhabitants. There was a count in the year 1170 of around 500 souls. A hundred years later, Jews from Tarragona in Spain fleeing persecution found refuge in Saracen-controlled Rhodes.

In 1309, knights of the Christian order of St. John Hospitallers conquered Rhodes, but before this time the presence of the “Evriaka Street” in the village of Mallona, not far from the main city of Rhodes, proves the existence of an already-established Jewish settlement.

The Jews from Spain brought with them the knowledge of cloth manufacturing. Tanning of animal hides was also a Jewish specialty.

Obadja Bertinoro, after his journey of 1488 to Jerusalem, visited Rhodes, and made the following observations: “After vigorous fighting between the Turks and the knights of the Hospice of St. John’s, the number of Jews left remaining on Rhodes was not large.  There were about 22 families, all poor. They feed themselves carefully with vegetables, and never consume bread or meat which they have not themselves slaughtered, and never buy any wine, for fear of having unpleasantries with the Greeks.

“When they visit the market to go shopping, they touch nothing which belongs to the Greeks, and observe prohibitions against wine just as they do prohibitions against swine.  They are well educated and trained, speak a clean language, are moral and ethical, and hospitable. Even the tanners are always cleanly dressed and speak soberly. [The women] all let their hair grow long, and are comely of form. They do all kinds of artwork for the lords of the land, and this is how they feed their menfolk.”

Ezra James Nollet

The Illegal Occupation That Must End

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Famagusta, Cyprus: The ghost town lies near the very center of the city, just outside the Venetian walls. It is home only to snakes, scorpions, and rats of a hundred varieties. Signs on the fences around the ghost town show armed Turkish soldiers threatening those taking photographs with arrest or worse. The crumbling buildings inside the perimeter are frozen in time in 1974, as if in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
 
Nothing has changed since central Famagusta was converted into a ghost town – called Varosha – by the invaders. It is said that the car distributorships in the ghost town even today are stocked with vintage 1974 models. For years after the rape of Famagusta, people told of seeing light bulbs still burning in the windows of the abandoned buildings. Hollywood studios could clothe whole movie sets with the 1974 fashions still in the closets of the homes.
 
Three years after the invasion, the scene was described by Swedish journalist Jan-Olof Bengtsson: “The asphalt on the roads has cracked in the warm sun and along the sidewalks bushes are growing. Today – September 1977 – the breakfast tables are still set, the laundry still hanging and the lamps still burning. Varosha is a ghost town.”
 
The Turks currently at the forefront of the assault against Israel for its “illegal occupation” of its own Jewish homeland, and for supposedly mistreating Palestinians, are the very same people who continue the massive crime against humanity in the form of the Famagusta ghost town. Born in ethnic cleansing, it is the enduring testimony to the illegal land grab on Cyprus by Turkey, the mass expulsion of the ethnic Greek Cypriots from the northern 40 percent of the island, the theft of their property, and an unknown number of murders of Greek Cypriots by Turkey.
 
The illegal “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is recognized by not a single country besides Turkey itself. Since its brutal invasion, Turkey has moved countless thousands of its citizens/troops onto northern Cyprus. This is the same Turkey that venomously denounces Israel when it builds “settlements” in the suburbs of Jerusalem for Jewish civilians on lands they have purchased legally.
 
Famagusta was first erected in the 13th century BCE. Phoenicians came and went, as did the Assyrians and Persians. Greek settlers came to dominate its population. Some Jews migrated in from their homeland, producing the wine used in the Jerusalem Temple described in the Talmud, and later learning to manufacture silk.
 
The Venetians gave the center of Famagusta its defining character, with its massive defensive bulwarks, gates and towers. Shakespeare’s mythical Othello served as ruler of Famagusta, and the largest Venetian fortress in the wall is obligingly called Othello’s Tower even today.
 
In 1571 the Ottoman Turks took control, relinquishing control to Great Britain in 1878. After an armed campaign by Cypriots, the Brits left in 1958 and Cyprus became a republic. Things were not well, however, in the inter-communal relations between Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks. Atrocities were committed by both sides. After a particularly horrific set of attacks, and partly in response to attempts by some radical Greek nationalists on the island to seek amalgamation with Greece, the Turks invaded the island in the summer of 1974.
 
Within two days they had taken Famagusta. The Turkish air force bombed the helpless town. The entire Greek population, fearing massacres at the hands of the invaders, fled south. Meanwhile, Turkish tanks rolled onward until Turkey had conquered half the Cyprus capital of Nicosia. There it erected a wall running through the center of the city.
 
The wall of occupation does not attract “solidarity” protesters or leftist professors from the West. They are too busy denouncing and attacking Israel for building a security fence around Jerusalem, a fence to keep the Palestinian suicide bombers from murdering Jewish children. No Rachel Corries go to Nicosia to defy the Turkish occupation army. They know they would instantly be jailed in a typically barbaric Turkish prison.
 
Countless UN resolutions since 1974 have demanded that Turkey leave the island and restore stolen property to Greek Cypriots. The same Turkish government that regularly denounces Israel for daring to defend its civilians from Arab terrorists and for otherwise disregarding anti-Israel world opinion has never paid those UN resolutions any mind.
 
Turkey insists that Palestinians be granted statehood and “self-determination” while refusing to allow Turkish Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Azeris and others to exercise any of it, even in the form of limited language autonomy. While Arabs living in Israel enjoy levels of freedom a hundred times better than do Turks living in Turkey, the Turkish government continues to denounce Israel for its alleged suppression of Arab “human rights.” On the very day that Turkey recently murdered 120 Kurds, it denounced Israel for committing “war crimes.”
 
Respect for human rights in Turkey is notably absent. The Turkish military police routinely kill civilians. Journalists have been assassinated. Islamofascism is growing stronger and local Islamic fundamentalist terrorists filled the Gaza “peace flotilla” sponsored by Turkey. Those are the terrorists whose suppression by Israel has now become the focus of Turkey’s demand for an Israeli apology.
 
When Israel invaded Gaza to put a stop to massive rocket attacks against its civilians by Hamas terrorists, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel for “massacring innocent women and children.” He accused Israel of “mass murder” in Gaza, ranting at length about how Israel had turned the Gaza Strip into an “open-air prison.”
 

But, in fact, the largest ongoing “open air” human-rights violation and crime against humanity is on display for all to see behind the barbed wire and fences of the ghost town of Famagusta.

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Steven Plaut

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-illegal-occupation-that-must-end/2010/07/14/

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