First Turkish aid ship to Gaza docks at Israeli port after reconciliation deal

The 'Lady Leyla' vessel is the first aid ship sent by Turkey since Ankara and Jerusalem signed a deal last week reconciling a six-year rift in diplomatic ties.

July 3, 2016 16:07
1 minute read.
Port of Ashdod

Port of Ashdod. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A cargo ship from Turkey carrying freight bound for Gaza docked on Sunday at Ashdod Port, from where Israel will transport food and medical supplies to the Palestinian enclave.

The Panamanian-registered Lady Leyla vessel is the first aid ship sent by Turkey since Ankara and Jerusalem signed a deal last week, reconciling a six-year rift in diplomatic ties fractured since the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

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Under the terms of the accord, Israel will maintain its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, but it will facilitate the transporting of humanitarian and civilian goods sent by Turkey through Ashdod Port and the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Earlier on Sunday, the family of IDF soldier Oron Shaul, one of two Israeli soldiers whose bodies have been held by Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge), protested at the Kerem Shalom crossing located at the border with the southern Gaza Strip.

Shaul’s parents and family members blocked roads in the vicinity of the crossing in an attempt to deter the transfer of wares to Gaza.

The Shaul family along with the relatives of Hadar Goldin, the other soldier whose remains are held in Gaza, have staunchly protested the deal between Turkey and Israel, as it does not stipulate the return of their sons’ bodies.

Under the accord, Turkey will also help build both a power and a desalination plant, as well as a hospital in the area.

The agreement also obligates Turkey, which has diplomatic ties with Hamas, not to allow any preparation for terrorist attacks against Israel from its territory, including the raising of funds for Hamas.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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