Turkey deal was struck five years ago, security chief reveals

The NSC interim head said the ministers receive daily intelligence reports, and that the Turkey deal is an example of orderly work with advance preparation.

July 26, 2016 23:42
2 minute read.
Israel Turkey

Israel and Turkey flags. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel and Turkey agreed on the terms of last month’s rapprochement agreement five years ago, National Security Council acting head Yaakov Nagel told the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday.

Nagel made the revelation in response to questions from committee chairwoman Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) about security cabinet ministers’ complaints that they are not properly prepared for cabinet meetings.

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“Going to war or buying defense systems – the responsibility is on the ministers’ shoulders without them knowing what they’re voting on,” she said, adding that ministers say the NSC does not update them or present them with alternatives like it’s supposed to.

The NSC interim head said the ministers receive daily intelligence reports, and that the Turkey deal is an example of orderly work with advance preparation.

“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.

According to Nagel, ministers were updated throughout the negotiations with Turkey and were presented with many alternatives.

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

The agreement was reached more than six years after the Mavi Marmara incident.

Israel will pay $20 million to families of the victims, and the deal allows Turkey to send humanitarian and civilian aid to Gaza through Ashdod, but does not lift the naval blockade. Turkey will be able to build a power plant and a desalination plant, as well as a hospital in Gaza, and Ankara agreed not to allow any terrorist attacks against Israel to be prepared in its territory, including Hamas fund-raising. In addition, ties between the countries will now be normalized, and the door is open to energy deals with Turkey that can help the Israeli economy.

The acting NSC chief said his staff is available daily to give cabinet members information on any security or diplomatic matter, and they receive a daily intelligence report.

Nagel also explained that he initiates cabinet discussions, determines their agenda, presents background to ministers and runs the meetings.

Earlier this year, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the security cabinet, refused to have his party vote to approve Avigdor Liberman’s appointment as defense minister unless ministers were better updated on what happens in the cabinet, claiming they were uninformed. Bennett has said the situation has improved since then, though when the news of the Turkey deal broke, he said he didn’t know its terms, despite what Nagel said in the Knesset on Tuesday. Bennett declined to comment on the matter.

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