MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) on Sunday evening criticized the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey, and attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for caving in to Turkey’s demands.
“The relations with Turkey are important to Israel but Netanyahu went too far when he agreed to an all-inclusive package for families of terrorists who attacked Israeli soldiers,” Shmuli said, in reference to a reported clause in the agreement stipulating that Israel will transfer $21 million to the families of the nine IHH Islamists who were on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
“Where is the old Liberman who would have shouted now that we are giving a prize to terrorism?" asked Shmuli, referring to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman who in the past criticized reconciliation efforts with Turkey.
Shmuli’s comments follow earlier criticism of the deal by former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar.
“Israel should pay Turkey compensation for the Marmara? I hope the reports are not true,” he tweeted. “But if they are – this is a national humiliation and an invitation to Israel’s haters to launch more flotillas and more libels.”
Responding to the criticism, an Israeli diplomatic official insisted that paying compensation to the families of those who were killed on the Marmara does not constitute taking responsibility for their deaths.
"The financial compensation is not an expression of responsibility but a humanitarian move," the official told Channel 2 News.
He stressed that Israel will not transfer the money until the Turkish parliament adopts a law to block all legal claims against the IDF soldiers who took part in the raid on the flotilla.
As for Liberman, the Defense Minister said on Sunday evening that he does not intend to comment on the agreement with Turkey until he reads it thoroughly and studies its details.