Mavi Marmara Claimant Pledges Money to Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM -

A declaration by one of the Turkish claimants in the Mavi Marmara case that he will donate any money he receives from Israel to Gazan terrorists provoked outrage in Yerushalayim late Wednesday.

An Israeli official was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that it shows the world what type of people were on the ship.

Mehmet Tunc, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara, described by the Turkish Hurriyet daily newspaper as one of the “victims” of the Israeli raid on the vessel, said he would not touch even “one Turkish lira” of the money. Instead, he said he intended to donate it to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

“This just shows to all those who thought the people on the ship were peace and human rights activists that they were hard-core Islamists supportive of [terrorist organizations],” the Israeli official said.

According to Hurriyet, the families who stand to receive compensation have yet to decide whether or not they will accept what Israel offers, regardless of the amount.

The money will reportedly be paid into a fund to be established for the purpose by the Turkish government, not directly to any private persons.

Meanwhile, other issues related to the reconciliation effort were being pursued. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Tuesday night with the families of those killed on the ship, to convince them to halt legal proceedings they have started against former IDF officers involved in the incident.

According to the paper, once the issue of compensation is settled, the two countries will begin the process of normalizing relations, with the aim of exchanging ambassadors by the end of June. However, Israeli diplomatic officials would not confirm the timeline.