Just hours after it was announced, it appears that a monkey wrench has been thrown into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to reconcile with Turkey – and that wrench was thrown by his defense minister, Avigdor Liberman. Speaking to members of his Yisrael Beitenu party, Liberman said that “unless something has changed, I see no reason to change our position, and to change our opposition to this deal.”
Liberman told MKs that he was concerned over the $21 million in reparations Israel will pay Turkey in compensation for the lives of nine Hamas-affiliated provocateurs who were killed when they attacked IDF soldiers on the Mavi Marmara, the infamous ship that was part of the 2010 Gaza flotilla. “I am not going to make a big deal out of this in the media, just as I did not make a big deal of our opposition to the deal to free 1,000 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, but our position is well-known,” he said.
In an interview last year, Liberman said that Turkey “is a radical Islamist state that is responsible for terror attacks on Israel. Turkey also incites against us, and it faces political pressure. We are in essence a lifeboat for the Turkish government, which can now point to a great political victory. This deal, under current circumstances, is just not worth it.”
Netanyahu has not yet commented on Liberman’s stance. Speaking earlier, Netanyahu said that the deal will help bring “stability” to the turbulent Middle East and “protect IDF soldiers from civil and criminal prosecution.”