Livni: ‘I Would Have Signed Turkey Deal’

Leader of the opposition Isaac Herzog seen at a Zionist Camp party meeting last month. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Leader of the opposition Yitzchak Herzog, seen at a Zionist Camp party meeting last month. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Nearly every Israeli politician who had something to say about it Monday condemned the agreement between Israel and Turkey that will restore diplomatic relations between the two countries. In fact, only one – Zionist Camp MK Tzipi Livni – said that she supported the deal.

“I agree that there are problems with this deal, and I too could have responded even more cynically than anyone else to the agreement,” she said in the Knesset Monday. “But I have to tell the truth – I, too, would have signed this agreement.”

Livni’s position was sharply different than that of Yitzchak Herzog, head of Zionist Camp. Speaking after the signing, Herzog said that “even though it is important for us to have relations with Turkey we must remember that Turkey is not our ally – it is Hamas’s. The precedent of paying reparations to those who attacked our soldiers is a dangerous one that cannot be allowed to go through. This will forever be identified with the three who led this agreement – Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett.”

A key tenet of the agreement was Israel’s agreement to pay Turkey $21 million in compensation for the lives of 9 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. Livni said that although the boarding of the Marmara by IDF soldiers was legal, “things are more complicated here, as they often are. This agreement is another proof that all those who are ‘defense hawks’ do not have the answers to the threats we face. They can talk tough to the world, but when it comes to the moment of truth, they choose diplomacy and pragmatism – that is the way of Zionist Camp.”

Earlier, Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio that “obviously we should not have to pay compensation to Turkey, but we must defend IDF soldiers and their commanders. There are international court cases against them, and we are doing this to end the saga and the threat against them. Our job is to defend IDF soldiers and commanders.

“The biggest loser here is Hamas,” he said. “Israel is now less isolated internationally, and soon we will export natural gas to Turkey, as a result of this deal.”