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New Israeli Radar System in Crete to Monitor Eastern Mediterranean Basin

New Israeli Radar System in Crete to Monitor Eastern Mediterranean Basin

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 - 12:15
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (L) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (2L) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R), during the 5th Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit on December 20, 2018 (AFP)

Israel, Greece, and Cyprus will hold a tripartite summit on Thursday in Tel Aviv to discuss military cooperation and the laying of a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe.

The military cooperation between the three countries led to the development of a new long horizon marine radar system in eastern Crete, with the enhanced coverage of the new surface radar to monitor the Eastern Mediterranean basin.

Israeli sources said the meeting will bring together Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades along with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The new surface radar will be able to track at long range, beyond the horizon, and both Israel and Greece will have access to its enhanced coverage.

“This will bring vast revenue to state coffers that will be directed to the benefit of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said.

Relations between Jerusalem and Athens have grown closer in recent years, according to sources in Tel Aviv. Military and economic issues are crucial in these ties, with particular attention paid to exploiting both countries’ gas reserves.

This cooperation was reflected on Greece’s political positions, as Athens softened its stance on the Palestinian issue in international bodies.

In 2015, Israel had participated in wide-range military exercises in Greece including a training against a Russian-supplied S-300 anti-missile system, ahead of the possible deployment of the system in Syria and Iran.

Israel and Cyprus also have numerous shared regional interests, including the security situation in Syria and Lebanon as well as the complicated relations with Turkey.

Both countries have large gas reserves in their territorial waters and a desire to export gas to Europe together with Greece, an important strategic gateway to the continent.

European countries signed with Israel in 2017 the joint declaration to enhance the work aimed at extending the sea line to transport Israeli gas to Europe within the next 8 years.

The 2,000-kilometer underwater pipeline is intended to have a capacity of 12 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The project includes the construction of a 1,300 km long submarine pipeline from the East Mediterranean gas field to southern Greece, as well as a 600 km long pipeline to western Greece, linking existing pipelines to transport gas to Italy and other EU countries.

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