Israeli cabinet approves Ankara-Tel Aviv reconciliation deal
The Israeli regime’s so-called security cabinet has approved a recent agreement sealed between Ankara and Tel Aviv to restore relations following a six-year rupture caused by a deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship.
A spokesman for the narrow forum within the Israeli cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the deal was ratified by seven to three votes following four-and-a-half hours of debate on Wednesday.
Ankara and Tel Aviv’s once close relations soured after Israeli commandos raided the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, 2010, killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring about 50 other people. A tenth Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries.
The two sides, however, announced the reconciliation agreement on June 27, after several rounds of talks.
Netanyahu and some Israeli officials have defended the accord, saying it will have a positive impact on the economy and raise the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals for the regime.
Israeli critics, however, argue that the agreement does not do enough to push for the return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza and possibly two other living Israelis.
Under the deal, Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip will remain in place, but the regime is obliged to pay USD 20 million in compensation to the families of the Turkish activists killed in the Gaza aid vessel incident.
The agreement further allows Turkey to send aid for Palestinians via Ashdod in the occupied territories rather than directly to Gaza.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The Tel Aviv regime has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and over 11,100 others wounded.