War in the Med
Simon Reeve visits Mediterranean countries torn apart by conflicts…
As Simon Reeve continues his journey around the Mediterranean, he heads into the snowy landscape of the Cypriot mountains.
‘Most of the time, we think of Cyprus as being a place for Summer sun,’ he says. ‘But there’s a whole world up here away from the beaches.’
Despite its beauty, Cyprus is a country ripped apart by decades of fighting between Greek Christian Cypriots and Turkish Muslim Cypriots.
The island’s capital, Nicosia, is divided in two, with a buffer zone in the middle guarded by UN peacekeepers.
‘In Cyprus, there seems to be very little prospect of a resolution,’ says Simon. ‘Here, now, there’s a bitter divide.’
In Lebanon, 200 miles away, Simon is given a bird’s-eye view of the country when he goes paragliding with his guide Raja Saade, before sleeping in an ancient abandoned Christian monastery built into caves. He then heads to Israel, where he joins the security forces keeping watch over the nation’s recently discovered gas reserves.
‘These gas reserves are gamechangers for Israel,’ says Simon. ‘But in security terms, they are sitting ducks.’
For his next stop, Simon makes the dangerous crossing into Gaza, where Westerners are at risk of kidnap, being shot or caught up in a military strike. Here, people survive on less than $2 a day, and Simon joins fishermen who are trying to feed their families from the depleted waters of their authorised fishing zones.
‘The situation here is shocking and maddening,’ says Simon. ‘I refuse to pick a side. So many opportunities for lasting peace have been lost here and we see two sides seeming in many ways to move further apart, not closer together.’
Shocked… Simon explores the dark side ofthe sun-soaked region
Split in two… How the city of Nicosia has been divided High flyers… Raja (left) and Simon in Lebanon