Israeli prime minister has asked Greek Cypriot administration to allow for the deployment of as much as 20 thousand Israeli commandos to protect a planned natural gas pipeline and a gas terminal to be constructed in southern Cyprus, according to details obtained by the Anadolu Agency of talks between Israeli prime minister and Greek Cypriot leader and a military cooperation agreement.
A Greek Cypriot source close to the February meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu and Greek Cypriot administration leader Demetris Christofias told the AA that Israel conveyed desire to build a pipeline and a terminal to pump natural gas from fields in the Eastern Mediterranean to European markets.
Israel offered to build the terminal and to cover all the expenses -- which is estimated around $10 billion -- but it also demanded to employ 10 thousand Israelis in the construction work and 20 thousand commandos to protect the terminal and the pipeline as well as Israeli workers and their families, which would bring up the number of Israelis to come to the port city of Limassol to nearly 50 thousand.
The terminal is also essential for the Greek Cypriot administration to carry natural gas it extracted from fields at a unilaterally-declared exclusive economic zone in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"You give a single finger to Israel and Israel will chop off your whole arm. Israel wants to come here to stay and never to return," the Greek Cypriot source told the AA on the condition of anonymity.
The Greek Cypriot source said the bargain between Netanyahu and Christofias included as well Israeli use of Greek Cypriot air and naval military bases in return for barring Israeli investments in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Israel also demanded to carry out search and rescue missions in the Eastern Mediterranean.