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Politics

Kasselakis Pushes Greece Recognize Palestinian State, Will Visit West Bank

ATHENS – Greece’s major opposition SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis said Greece should follow the lead of Spain, Ireland and Norway and also recognize a Palestinian state during Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip in a hunt for Hamas terrorists.

The New Democracy government backs Israel but called for measures to hold down the civilian casualties that have surpassed 35,000 by most estimates, although Israel said it’s 30,000 and justified its actions to go after terrorists who killed more than 1200 Israelis.

The world is divided over the war and Greece has been pushing increased trade and business with Israel while SYRIZA has traditionally supported Palestinians although the Leftists former leader and then Premier Alexis Tsipras also was friendly with Israel.

Israel’s Ambassador Noam Katz jumped on Kasselakis for supporting Hamas after the SYRIZA leader told Alpha TV that only “part of Hamas is carrying out terrorist acts,” that included beheading children and babies and burning them alive.

“It’s like someone claiming that only part of ISIS comprises terrorists,” Katz said in a post written in Greek. “Hamas is a genocidal, murderous terrorist organization from its top echelons to its base. All are responsible for the horrific massacre in Israel on October 7,” he wrote, posting a gruesome video of five kidnapped female Israeli soldiers.

“This is the brutality that Hamas represents. These women are still captives,” he stressed, with no idea what has happened to them, with Hamas still holding about 200 hostages it took during the raids after posting videos celebrating the massacre.

Kasselakis, who struggled to resurrect SYRIZA after it was routed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ Conservatives in 2019 and 2023 elections, is hoping to raise its support and gain 25 percent of the vote in June 6-9 European Parliament elections.

Kasselakis will reportedly visit the city of Ramallah for meetings with officials of the Palestinian Authority although no details were immediately available about his program or whether he would talk about the Hamas terrorists.

He’s also looking to the EU elections to have SYRIZA try to make inroads against Mitsotakis’ government. “If we see a percentage of over 20 percent, I will be very satisfied and we are close to achieving it,” he told Action 24, reaching out again to to progressive parties “that can form a strong opposition” on June 9.

SYRIZA spokesperson Voula Kehagia told radio station Real FM that the party’s proposals have been fully costed out to ensure they are financially viable as it recommended cutting the ENFIA property tax but raising taxes on large properties.

SYRIZA also wants a one-off tax on the excessive profits of banks and taxing oil refineries to raise monies, Greece relying on tourism as its biggest revenue engine while the shipping sector is nearly untaxed despite ruling the world’s waves.

Kehagia said SYRIZA wants a VAT cut but Hatzidakis said the country can’t afford it despite an accelerating economy in the wake of the waning COVID-19 pandemic that is outperforming even Germany, the EU’s biggest economy.

“From VAT and indirect taxes, the government had an overperformance in taxes, surplus revenues from taxes, of the order of four billion euros in 2022 and 2023,” she said about revenues that haven’t benefited many families.

She also denied a report in the newspaper Eleftheros Typos about plans to abolish the unemployment benefit, saying there was no such measure in the party’s program as it tries to regain favor with voters.

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