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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Flotilla’

Report: Israel Paid $20M to Turkey as Compensation for Mavi Marmara

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

In line with the terms of the normalization agreement signed with Turkey in June, Israel paid Ankara $20 million on Friday in compensation over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, according to “Turkish diplomatic sources” quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

The two countries finalized and approved the agreement this past August. Under the deal Israel agreed to pay the compensation and Turkey agreed to drop all charges against IDF officials and soldiers with any connection to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish terror activists died after attacking Israeli commandos. The agreement normalizes ties between Israel and Turkey after a six-year hiatus. Israel also agreed to Turkey’s participation in humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.

According to the report by Anadolu, “Israel has agreed to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the occupied Gaza Strip.”

Turkey has sent two shipments of humanitarian aid to Gaza thus far. Both arrived at Ashdod port and then were delivered via the land crossing at Kerem Shalom in much the same manner as aid from other international sources.

Less than two weeks ago (Sept. 21, 2016) a man yelled ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (God is Great! in Arabic) and tried to storm the Israeli Embassy in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, but was shot in the leg by Turkish police.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Women’s Flotilla About Everything But Helping Gaza

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

Arguably, more humanitarian aid flows into Gaza than ever before. And strong evidence indicates that Hamas chooses to divert significant amounts of construction material that should be used to rebuild housing in order to gear up for future terrorist attacks against Israel.

And so a flotilla aimed at drawing attention to Palestinian suffering hopes to set sail shortly and make it to Gaza by Oct. 1.

Its message: Israel is to blame for everything. It should willingly embrace suicide for its people by ending a naval blockade on Gaza that stops Hamas from importing even more weapons of war. The Women’s Boat to Gaza‘s message for Hamas?


The boats will carry women only, in an attempt to put forth a more peaceful message, organizers say. Think of it as a sort of Lilith Fair on the sea for Israel-hating women.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to launch the Women’s Boat to Gaza because we believe that it is essential to highlight the vital role women play not only in the resistance movement, but in the survival of the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The ships will carry no aid, organizers say. Ending the blockade is the sole mission. Organizers insist it is illegal but offer no support for the claim. They ignore a United Nations investigation conducted after a 2010 flotilla ended violently. Passengers on the Mavi Marmara attacked Israelis troops who raided the ship to stop it from reaching Gaza.

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza,” the investigation found. “The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

But the blockade does not stop legitimate aid from reaching Gaza residents. It adds a measure of control. Aid to Gaza is peaking, especially since the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey opened the door to direct Turkish deliveries – 25 trucks daily – including food, toys, medicine and more.

That blockade isn’t going away anytime soon, so the flotilla’s actual benefit to the people of Gaza is minimal at best.

There are things the passengers can do to help, however, if their agenda truly is about improving life for Palestinians and not some feckless attempt to discredit Israel.

Start by condemning Hamas political leaders for making jihad a priority over improving living conditions. As much as 95 percent of cement meant for rebuilding Gaza gets diverted to tunnel building. The Los Angeles Times also described a concern among some Gaza residents that the money that does go toward home construction benefits Hamas insiders and mosques first.

This is no Israeli spin. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad frequently acknowledge deaths and injuries to its fighters due to tunnel collapses during construction.

What benefit do any of these death holes bring to Palestinians today?

The boat women also can demand that Hamas stop indoctrinating Palestinian children with messages glorifying violent jihad and martyrdom. It has been going on for years. Simply put: It is indefensible.

Finally, a flotilla of women hoping to improve life for Palestinians in Gaza should say something about the treatment of women under Hamas rule. Something is amiss in a society when women riding bicycles creates a stir. Women in Gaza also cannot dance or smoke in public or have their hair done by men.

If Hamas were pressured into adopting a more peaceful agenda, Israel’s justification for the blockade would crumble. Perhaps the boat women know this is a losing battle.

As Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh showed last month, the Hamas charter has never been altered despite years of spin alleging the terrorist group somehow is now willing to live side-by-side with Israel.

Hamas sees the land encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories as a religious trust “until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad. The liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.”

Abu Toameh also pointed to a statement last month from longtime Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook that promised, “The Zionist entity will not be part of this region. We will continue to resist it until the liberation of our land and the return of our people.”

“Abu Marzouk did not talk about building new schools and parks for the Palestinians,” Abu Toameh wrote. “When he talks about ‘serving’ the people, he means only one thing: recruiting Palestinians to Hamas and jihad against Israel and the Jews.

It is worth noting that previous flotilla efforts and land-based convoys worked closely with Hamas officials, with leaders from the terrorist group greeting the international travelers. And the women’s flotilla could be no different. The Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition is among the groups endorsing the flotilla.

Al-Awda advocates “the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property,” according to the organization’s website. The group’s logo is a picture of the map of Israel and a key.

In the June Facebook posting at right, Al-Awda co-founder Zahi Damuni refers to Hamas terrorists in Israeli custody as “our prisoners.”

The Women’s Boat to Gaza effort coincides with other Gaza-focused campaigns. IHH, a Turkish charity with ties to Hamas and a suspected al-Qaida funder, announced plans to deliver meals to 600 Gaza families in a program called “Martyrs of the Freedom Flotilla.” IHH organized the 2010 flotilla in which 10 passengers on the Mavi Marmara died after attacking the Israeli troops enforcing the Gaza blockade.

At least it’s real assistance. There’s a lot that Palestinian advocates can do to improve living conditions in Gaza. To do so, however, they must be willing to face some uncomfortable realities about why the quality of life has grown worse since Israel withdrew more than a decade ago. They can continue hating Israel and still acknowledge Hamas’s failings.

It’s their choice.

Steve Emerson

Turkish Parliament Reviews Normalization Deal with Israel

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The agreement to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel was formally submitted Wednesday (Aug. 17) to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara for review and a final vote of approval, or not, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The debate on the issue has been delayed by several weeks due to last month’s failed attempt by part of the Turkish military to overthrow the government. Thousands of government employees and high-ranking officials were purged in the wake of the incident.

Tourism has taken a serious hit as a result of the coup and the ongoing purges, with numerous countries issuing advisories to its citizens against traveling to Istanbul, further damaging an already compromised economy. For this and other reasons, it is becoming more urgent than ever for Turkey to complete its agreement with Israel and improve its ties with Russia — which it is working on — as well as with others in the region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a televised interview a week ago (Aug. 11) that the deal would be completed and signed before September, finalized by the Turkish Parliament “as soon as possible.”

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News quoted Cavusoglu as saying during a joint news conference following a meeting with Palestinian Authority Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara that Turkey is ‘eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and the Middle East process.’ Cavusoglu added that Turkey had always ‘advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and would continue to contribute to permanent peace in the region.

“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel,” he said, according to Hurriyet. “According to our latest agreement, the two countries will mutually appoint ambassadors. After this step we will continue to support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process.”

Upon ratification of the agreement by the Turkish Parliament, the two nations will exchange ambassadors to fully restore diplomatic ties. Turkey reportedly plans to build a hospital in Gaza and ratchet up efforts to build an industrial zone project in Jenin.

The deal to restore ties between the two countries was signed on June 28 after numerous repeated attempts to heal the wounds of a breach after a 2010 illegal flotilla that included a Turkish ship attempted to break the marine blockade on Gaza. Israeli commandos boarded the ship to redirect the vessel to Ashdod port, and a clash with armed “activists” ensued, leaving 10 Turks dead and numerous IDF commandos wounded.

Israeli and Turkish delegates spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 working on an agreement to renew the ties between their two nations.

At the end, Israel agreed to pay Turkey $20 million (17.8 million euros) within 25 days, in compensation to the families of those who died in the 2010 clash.

The legal case in Turkish court, targeting the Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel, will also be dropped, according to Anadolu news agency. In addition, individual Israeli nations will not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan Rebukes Gaza Flotilla Organizers for Undermining Israel Deal

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday criticized the Turkish charity group IHH for sabotaging his reconciliation with Israel. The Turkish president insisted the deal is good for the Palestinians, for Turkey, and for Israel.

Erdoğan spoke during an iftar dinner (the meal at the end of the daily Ramadan fast) at the presidential complex in Ankara. He said that the flotilla organizers never asked his permission to sail to Gaza in 2010, when he was a prime minister, causing a needless diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and Israel.

Erdoğan’s frontal attack came after the Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH on Monday criticized the deal saying it amounted to acceptance of the Israeli blockade.

“We were already delivering the same amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza, but without making a show of it. Now we have Israel’s promise, all aid supplies to Gaza will be permitted from now on,” Erdoğan said. He announced that a Turkish ship with 11,000 tons of humanitarian aid is ready to leave for Gaza this Friday, noting that this will become a routine from now on, no need for showboating, so to speak.

Last Monday, after months of talks between the two countries, Turkey and Israel announced that a deal normalizing their relations would be signed. Under the deal, Turkey would be allowed to send humanitarian shipments to Gaza which would be delivered to the Asdod harbor in Israel, examined for contraband and trucked to Gaza; and Israel will pay $20 million in reparations to the families of the Mavi Marmara casualties.

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries. Established in 1992 and officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, İHH provides humanitarian relief in areas of war, earthquake, hunger, and conflict. The İHH holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004.

Two IHH employees were detained for alleged links to al-Qaida, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on January 13, 2014. An IHH spokesman said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after police raided his home.

The current president of the İHH, Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım, has been under investigation by specially authorized prosecutors in Istanbul and Diyarbakır for allegedly financing al-Qaeda through his organization. Yildirim also led a memorial service for Chechen leader Shamil Basayev in 2006.

Erdoğan also said that the normalization of relations with Russia and Israel is based on a “win-win” principle. “In other words, both Turkey and Russia must win, both Turkey and Israel must win,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdoğan had a phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin, on the way to normalizing relations between the two countries, some seven months after Turkey had downed a Russian jet that it claimed crossed from Syrian into Turkish airspace despite repeated warnings.


Israeli-Turkish Talks Likely to Focus on Gaza in Geneva

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Israeli and Turkish diplomats are meeting today (Feb. 10) in Geneva, Switzerland, according to reports in both Israeli and Turkish media.

Although Turkish diplomatic sources did not confirm the report, Turkey’s NTV said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu was traveling to Geneva for the meeting.

Likewise, although it has not been confirmed, it is likely the two sides are starting to focus on the thorny issue of Israeli national security and Turkey’s insistence on ending the blockade of Gaza. The region has become the central headquarters for a number of radical Islamist terrorist organizations, not the least of which includes its ruling government, the Hamas terrorist group — which has its international headquarters in Istanbul, funded by Iran.

In general, the talks are continuing over how to heal the broken ties between the two former allies following two separate ice-breaker meetings in Ankara between 51 American Jewish leaders with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier this week.

Turkish media ascribes the break to the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when a Turkish-owned vessel participated in an illegal flotilla aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

When the flotilla ignored Israeli Navy orders to redirect to Ashdod port, IDF commandos boarded each vessel to bring them in, including the Mavi Marmara. But on that vessel the commandos, armed only with pistols and paintball guns, were attacked by terror activists armed with knives and iron bars. During the clash that ensued, 10 attackers were killed, and a number of IDF commandos were seriously wounded.

Turkey used the incident as an excuse to break its ties with Israel and demanded a formal apology, compensation to families of the “victims” — and removal of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. This would open Israeli citizens wide to the results of a massive delivery to Hamas of weaponry from Iran, not to mention opening the border wide to infiltration of terrorists into Israel, further exacerbating the current wave of terror.

Such a request can be likened to asking Turkey to drop any military defense against the PKK — the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization which is recognized by the international community as a terrorist group. The PKK has repeatedly attacked Turkish citizens and government officials. Turkey’s military does whatever it can to defend against the group and eliminate it.

Israel officially “apologized” to Turkey in 2013 over the deaths of her citizens. Discussions over compensation are continuing, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

However, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported Wednesday that Israel had agreed to pay Turkey $20 million in compensation, which is to be transferred to a special fund “that will in turn provide grants to the families of the Turkish citizens who were killed on injured in the Israel commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, in accordance with the recent agreement between the two countries.”

Turkey continues to maintain a hardline attitude, however, on what it calls “the Palestinian cause in talks with Israel.”

According to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, discussions on “how Turkish access to Gaza will be provided in an unrestricted fashion have yet to be clarified.”

The Daily Sabah quoted presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin at a recent Ankara briefing as saying Israel must meet all three conditions to normalize relations. He added Turkey “will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached and the Palestinian people have their own state. Permanent peace cannot be achieved in the region without resolving the Palestinian issue,” Kalin said.

However, despite the chilly diplomatic atmosphere business is quite brisk between the two nations.

The group that owns the license to Israel’s mammoth Leviathan natural gas field recently signed a new $1.3 billion contract to supply the Israeli Edeltech Group and its Turkish partner, Zorlu Enerji.

Hana Levi Julian

New Gaza Flotilla Coalition Strategy: A Ship Full of Women

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

(JNi.media) The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Barcelona on Sunday to evaluate past actions and to plan for future work, “in light of the extremely deteriorated situation in Palestine, the Israeli oppression and the continued blockade of Gaza.”

The following strategic plan was adopted: in 2016 a Women’s Boat to Gaza will sail to challenge the Israeli blockade; then, in 2017, the focus will shift to solidarity with the fishermen of Gaza; and in 2018 the coalition plans to send in a large vessel carrying hundreds of supporters from around the world to “challenge the blockade.”

The land, air, and sea blockades of the Gaza Strip have been enforced by Israel since 2007, and by Egypt when it has not been ruled by the Muslim Brothers. After Hamas had won the Palestinian elections in the strip in 2006, and eventually seized control of the Gaza Strip from the PLO, it declared war on the Jewish State, vowing to destroy it, and refusing to honor the peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians. There was also the June, 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, which was followed by Operation Summer Rains—open warfare between Hamas and the IDF. Since then, Egypt and Israel have sealed their border crossings with Gaza, opening them infrequently only to close them in a hurry when some residents of Gaza inevitably shoot rockets at the other side.

Israel insists that, in this perpetual state of war with Hamas, the blockade is necessary to limit rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on its civilians and to prevent Hamas from obtaining other weapons by sea. Egypt, for its part, razed an entire Gazan neighborhood last year, to create a wide and easily governable no man’s land between Egypt and the Gaza strip. Egypt has also been systematically flooding the Hamas smuggling tunnels connecting its territory with Gaza.

At this point, Hamas holds the key to removing the blockade: embrace the peace accords, disavow its plan to annihilate the Jews of Israel, and begin to care for its own, downtrodden population. But since that’s not in the cards, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is there to lend its support.

In the Barcelona meeting, on Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1, the following campaigns were represented:

Canadian Boat to Gaza European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza Freedom Flotilla Italy Palestine Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) Rumbo a Gaza (Spain) Ship to Gaza – Norway Ship to Gaza – Sweden It was the first FFC face to face meeting after its Freedom Flotilla III, in which most of the boats turned back to Greece harbor midway, and the flagship Marianne was boarded peaceably by the Israeli Navy, and all the delegates on board were detained and sent home.

The Barcelona meeting ended with an ambitious resolution, to “continue our work until the blockade of Gaza is lifted, occupation comes to an end and all just rights of the Palestinian people are restored.”


First Official Turkish Delegation to Israel in 5 Years

Monday, August 31st, 2015

For the first time in five years, Turkey and Israel are talking officially again, with an official delegation from Turkey arriving today (Mon. Aug. 31) to discuss development in Jenin.

The Turkish delegation, led by Guven Sak, a co-director of the Turkish Manufacturers and Traders Association, are set to meet Monday in Israel with Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Karal

The Turkish business leaders are allegedly planning to discuss development of an industrial zone in the Jenin are, a project worth a Turkish investment of at least $100 million.

Monday’s visit is the first since the 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel that illegally attempted to breach Israel’s maritime security blockade of Gaza. The vessel, sponsored by a Turkish activist group, was filled with violent, armed activists who attacked Israeli commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port, after the captain refused to change course away from Gaza.

Although the group sponsoring the ship claimed it was filled with “humanitarian supplies”for Gaza residents, upon inspection in Ashdod it was discovered there were no supplies for Gazans. But during the clashes on board the vessel between the attacking activists on board, and the Israeli commandos who boarded to redirect the ship, nine Turkish attackers were killed. A number of Israelis were seriously wounded, including one critically, as well.

The incident sparked years of acrimonious rhetoric from then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now the country’s president, who expelled the Israeli ambassador and recalled his own from Tel Aviv. Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave birth to Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. He was outraged when Israel has launched counter terror operations to silence the incessant rocket and mortar fire being aimed at its civilians in southern areas.

Nevertheless, over the past several years various figures behind the scenes have been working quietly to repair the damage to the relationship between the two former allies, which has continued to grow economically in commercial trade.

A number of religious leaders on both sides have also maintained ties and continued to meet for interfaith dialogue facilitated by Istanbul-based Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar.

The delegation is arriving one day after Turkey’s “ambassador to the Palestinian Authority,” Mustafa Sernich, traveled to Gaza, Al Resalah reported Sunday.

Semich was accompanied by a delegation of economists who paid their own way, and who are scheduled for meetings with heads of Gaza economic institutions.

The Turkish official was scheduled to meet with “deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.”

Until recently Haniyeh was recognized as the de facto prime minister of Gaza. The use of this new title by Palestinian Arab media suggests Haniyeh was demoted in a quiet internal political battle out of the public eye.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/first-official-turkish-delegation-to-israel-in-5-years/2015/08/31/

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