The Knesset
The KnessetYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

An Israeli parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday on recognizing the World War I mass-killings of Armenians by the Ottoman empire as genocide has been cancelled because of government opposition, the lawmaker behind the initiative said.

Last month the Knesset had approved a motion penned by Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing opposition Meretz party to hold a plenary debate and vote on "recognizing the Armenian genocide".

Turkey had expressed its opposition and to try to ensure the support of the governing coalition for her motion, Zandberg agreed to postpone the vote until after Sunday's Turkish elections.

On Monday, it became clear that the coalition was still opposed to Zandberg's initiative, even after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's reelection.

"Despite the promises and delays and despite the Turkish elections being behind us, the government and coalition are refusing to recognize the Armenian genocide," Zandberg said on Twitter late Monday.
"I am therefore forced to cancel the vote," she said.

"Recognizing the Armenian genocide is a matter of basic historical justice and morals, which the Jewish state should have been the first to recognize," Zandberg said.

The Israeli foreign ministry would not comment on Zandberg's initiative since it did not involve legislation.

It did however recommend the government postpone a vote on a bill to recognize the Armenian genocide earlier this month, over concern its advancement could benefit Erdogan ahead of the June 24 elections there.

Zandberg's motion would not have been considered an Israeli government move, but could have worsened already tense ties with Turkey, which has accused Israel of Nazism over the use of force to defend Israel's border with Gaza from attempted infiltrations.

The Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were massacred during World War I as the Ottoman empire was falling apart, with almost 30 countries to date having recognized the killings as genocide.