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'Hamas Needs to be Part of the Solution'

Turkey’s former foreign minister says that Hamas must be a part of any agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
By Yishai Karov
First Publish: 5/22/2014, 2:12 AM

Former Turkish foreign minister Yashar Yakish
Former Turkish foreign minister Yashar Yakish
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Turkey’s former foreign minister, Yashar Yakish, said on Wednesday that Hamas must be a part of any agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Yakish made the remarks during a speech in front of students and guests at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"Turkey is actively monitoring the situation between Israelis and Palestinians. Contrary to what some say, Turkey is not closer to Hamas than it is to Fatah,” he said.

“Turkey will recommend to Hamas to stop the violence - as it has done in the past,” added Yakish. “I believe that Hamas knows that violence will not lead them anywhere. Turkey would be happy to contribute to ending the conflict.”

He further said that Turkey hopes that there will be “a new beginning between Israelis and Palestinians” despite the failure of the latest round of peace talks.

Israel pulled out of the peace talks after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed a “unity pact” with Hamas, which stipulates that a new government will be formed.

Abbas has claimed that Hamas will not be a part of the new unity government, nor will that government include representatives of other Palestinian Arab organizations, while Hamas has been adamant over its full control of the new government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections.

Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and its deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk has ruled out the possibility that Hamas will recognize “the Zionist entity,” even after the unity pact with Fatah.

This was reiterated on Tuesday by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who said in a speech in Qatar that, despite his group’s reconciliation with Fatah, Hamas was still committed to “resistance” against Israel.

“Turkey and Israel must cooperate with one another”
In his speech on Wednesday, Yakish also referred to the tension between Israel and Turkey, which has been ongoing since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.

“Turkey and Israel are close friends so there is no possibility that they will not cooperate,” he said.

"There's mutual sympathy between citizens of both countries. Israel and Turkey could have done more to prevent the Marmara incident,” he continued. “Both countries agree that they wasted four years, and now I hope they will continue from the same point they were at was before [the Marmara incident] happened. They are headed in the right direction.”

Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara after Israel refused Turkey’s demands to apologize for raiding the Marmara and to compensate the victims’ families.

It was under pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized last March to Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan for the deaths of the activists on the Marmara and talks began on the compensation agreement.

The sides have been engaged in talks since that time. Turkey’s Foreign Minister recently indicated that there were positive developments in the discussions.