Israel Security Chief: Deal With Turkey Was Made Five Years Ago

A demonstrator burns an Israeli flag as he sits between Turkish (L) and Palestinian flags during a protest against Israel on June 5, 2010 at Caglayan Square in Istanbu

TEL AVIV –The interim head of Israel’s National Security Council revealed on Tuesday that the terms of the reconciliation deal with Turkey had been agreed on five years ago.

Yaacov Nagel said the agreement to restore diplomatic ties was the result of years of groundwork and that security cabinet ministers were regularly updated on its status by intelligence briefings received on a daily basis.

“An agreement was drafted six years ago, and most of it and its principles were agreed upon four and a half to five years ago. There were long, continuous discussions of the agreement in the security cabinet, the apology and the language used, the request for compensation, how to deal with terrorist attacks prepared in Turkey, and more,” he said.

Nagel’s remarks were prompted by complaints filed by ministers that they were not sufficiently briefed for cabinet meetings. Committee chairwoman Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) charged that the NSC does not do its job of properly updating ministers and presenting them with all the options on security and diplomatic matters.

“Going to war or buying defense systems – the responsibility is on the ministers’ shoulders without them knowing what they’re voting on,” she said.

Nagel vehemently denied the charges, saying ministers were presented with many alternative negotiation terms.

“In the last six months alone, we held four cabinet meetings on this topic,” he said.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who serves on the security cabinet, said that when news of the rapprochement deal broke he was unaware of its terms.

The agreement with Turkey was struck six years after the Mavi Marmara incident in which a number of Turkish activists attempting to run the naval blockade of Gaza were killed by IDF forces, severing ties between the two countries.

The terms of the agreement include $20 million in compensation to be paid by Israel to the victims’ families and a stipulation that humanitarian aid be allowed to pass to Gaza through Ashdod. Ankara will be given permission to build a power plant and a desalination plant, as well as a hospital in Gaza. The deal, however, does not include any plans to lift the naval blockade.

For its part, Ankara agreed to prohibit the planning of any terrorist attacks against Israel on Turkish territory, including fund-raising for terror organization Hamas, which has a headquarters in Istanbul. Hamas slammed the efforts at normalization between the two countries.


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