Israeli Ministers Officially Approve Reconciliation Deal with Turkey
JNS.org – The Israeli diplomatic-security cabinet on Wednesday approved the recently struck reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey. Following a five-hour debate, the cabinet ministers voted 7-3 in favor of the agreement.
Israel’s cabinet approval of the agreement came a day after a shooting and bombing attack, suspected to have been carried out by the Islamic State terror group, killed 41 people at Turkey’s Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
Yisrael Beiteinu party leader and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman voted against the agreement, as did Habayit Hayehudi party leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
In the past, Lieberman has been a vocal opponent of reconciliation with Turkey and vehemently opposed Israel paying compensation to families of Turkish victims of clashes with the Israel Defense Forces during the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.
The approval came despite various demands to amend the agreement and calls to bring the deal to a vote by the larger Israeli cabinet, which includes all the government’s ministers, and even the entire Knesset legislature.
On Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu formally signed off on the agreement in their bureaus in Jerusalem and Ankara.
While Israel’s diplomatic-security cabinet convened Wednesday, the families of Operation Protective Edge casualties Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Israeli soldiers whose remains are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Avera Mengistu, an Israeli civilian who has been in Hamas captivity since he crossed the border fence into Gaza in September 2014, protested the agreement outside the cabinet room. The families are demanding that the deal include the return of their relatives or their remains to Israel.