Just days after Israel signed an accord ending the diplomatic rupture with Turkey, prominent Members of Knesset have revived the charge of Armenian genocide in World War I, a highly sensitive issue in Ankara, which has consistently denied the charge.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and other MK’s called upon the government to recognize the Armenian Genocide, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
“We cannot ignore, dwarf or deny this terrible genocide,” Edelstein stated. “We must disconnect current interests of this time and place from the difficult past.”
“We cannot remain apathetic, even if it’s late, to the suffering the Armenians experienced. Recognizing the Armenian genocide is important to us as human beings who carry moral responsibility and constantly hope to improve the world and society,” Edelstein stated.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On, who initiated the discussion, said that recognition should not be put off in order to avoid angering the Turks.
“This is a decision Israel must make. Sometimes there is a price for doing the right thing, and sometimes the right choice is not the easy one. We are tested when we have to pay a price,” she stated.
The Israeli government is known to be against recognition. On May 31, a few days before the lower house of the German Bundestag voted to recognize the murder of the Armenian people, a discussion of the subject was scheduled in the Knesset.
However, it was reportedly postponed under pressure from the Foreign Ministry (which is headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu).
On Tuesday, Gal-On’s motion was approved, and the matter will be brought before the Knesset Education Committee.
On Sunday, the French parliament voted unanimously to pass a law banning the denial of crimes against humanity, including the massacre of Armenians.
Passed as an amendment to the current French holocaust law, it will make denial of genocidal events punishable by up to one year in prison and a 45,000 Euro fine.
Israel, the United States and Britain are among the countries which have not recognized the Armenian genocide.