MKs on the left and right slammed the prospective deal Israel has closed with Turkey for the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations. Many of the details are not known yet – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to announce the outline of the agreement later Monday – but even the details that are known are raising the ire of MKs.
MKs on the right, including Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and others, slammed the compensation portion of the agreement, in which Israel agreed to pay Turkey money for the deaths of Hamas-affiliated provocateurs killed when they attempted to attack IDF soldiers during the 2010 Gaza flotilla.
In a social media post, Shaked quoted current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman from an interview last year, when he 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.”
Former Likud MK Gideon Saar also slammed the deal, saying that paying compensation to Turkey would be “a national disgrace and an invitation for more flotillas.” Saar called on government ministers to drop the idea and “not be a partner to this error.” Speaking on Army Radio, Saar said that “Israelis should not have to subsidize attacks on IDF soldiers. If anything, it should be the other way around. Why is national dignity such a denigrated concept among us?”
Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog criticized the deal, saying that “it is typical of the Prime Minister’s modus operandi. He starts with grand declarations and ends with his tail between his legs. Restoring diplomatic relations with Turkey is important but compensating the Turks because IDF soldiers had to defend themselves is unconscionable.”
MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp) called for the Knesset to discuss any deals with Turkey before the government approves them. “Netanyahu is avoiding the Knesset and has refused to share the contents of this deal with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in order to prevent criticism.” Besides the fact that the deal “will harm Israel’s security,” Netanyahu “has also forgotten missing Israeli soldiers” Avraham Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who are being held by Hamas in Gaza, alive or dead. The soldiers’ families have been demanding that the live soldier and the remains of the dead ones be returned as part of the overall reconciliation with Turkey. As part of the agreement, Israel is allowing Turkey to become more active in Gaza, taking on projects such as the construction of a power plant.
Speaking Sunday, Netanyahu said that “all efforts were being made to return” missing IDF soldiers, alive or otherwise, who may be held by Hamas in Gaza. “There is a lot of incorrect information out there regarding the deal that is being developed with Turkey. We are continuing all our efforts to find and bring home our soldiers. We will not rest until they return home.”
Defending the deal, government minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio Monday 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.”