Herzog, Palestinians Bash Turkey Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

Negative reaction to the reconciliation deal with Turkey continued on Monday, from both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog lashed out at the government, saying that paying compensation to “those who attacked IDF soldiers is inconceivable,” a reference to the $21 million promised to the families of the victims killed in the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid.

“Every[ Israeli] mother should know that right-wing politicians will compensate her son’s attackers,” he said.

“The deal with Turkey is part of the prime minister’s pattern. He starts with grand claims, continues with promises and ends with surrendering,” Herzog charged.

Herzog went on to castigate the government for the “apathy and indifference” it has shown to the families of the two IDF soldiers whose bodies have remained in Gaza since the 2014 war; the families are protesting the deal. Israeli negotiators extracted a letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating his intent to mediate with Hamas on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians expressed their dissatisfaction, too. “Israel and Erdogan’s Islamic party are the only ones who will be served by this agreement,” The Jerusalem Post quoted a Palestinian source as saying.

The official brushed aside promises to facilitate Turkish aid to Gaza.

“Israel will find excuses to cancel the rebuilding of Gaza, meaning that the final result of the deal as far as the Palestinians are concerned will be zero,” the source said. “The Turkish president wanted to get Ankara out of its international isolation, which was caused by his policies. It was sad to see him chase after Israel in order to secure a weak deal.”

He also said it is unlikely the agreement will yield any movement on the issue of captive Israelis, because Hamas wishes to improve ties with Egypt and Cairo is more likely to take a leading role on the issue.

“Hamas will try to play this deal to its benefit,” he surmised. “However, it will turn out to be a political trick in which Erdogan is using the Gaza Strip.”

Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman voiced his opposition to the rapprochement, though he did not say explicitly he would vote against it in the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) refused to comment, saying that she would reserve judgment until she had the opportunity to view the deal in its final form.

“We’ll address the matter only when we’ve seen the details. Everything I’ll have to say about the agreement I’ll say in the cabinet, whether in favor or against it.”

A Channel 10 poll published on Monday evening said that 56 percent of 600 people surveyed were against the deal, 33 percent in favor, 11 percent undecided.

There was much greater support for the deal among the 100 Arab Israelis surveyed — 72 percent supported it, compared to just 24 percent of the 500 Jews polled. Jewish Israelis were heavily opposed — 65 percent, according to the poll.

Despite the criticisms and reservations, the agreement is still expected to gain approval by the Cabinet.