(photo credit: REUTERS/Osman Orsa)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to convene a high-level meeting by the end of the month to decide whether to approve an agreement with Turkey that would lead to a re-normalization of ties four years after the Mavi Marmara raid.
The meeting will include the relevant ministers and officials who have been involved in the negotiations with Ankara over the terms of the agreement, diplomatic officials told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
On May 30, 2010, Israel Navy commandos boarded the Turkish ship trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and – after coming under attack on board the vessel – killed nine Turks.
The deal to be discussed at the meeting is one negotiators have been working on for months.
According to media reports, but not officially confirmed, Israel will pay some $21 million to the families of the nine dead men.
This money would not be paid directly to the families, but rather deposited in a fund that would later be distributed among them.
Ankara, as part of the deal, would pass legislation ending current or future legal proceedings against members of the IDF.
The Turkish media has been saying for weeks that the agreement was imminent and with it an exchange of ambassadors.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy in Ankara canceled an Independence Day celebration planned for Wednesday night in a hotel in the city, in solidarity with those mourning the deaths of more 200 miners the coal mine disaster in Soma
, in western Turkey.
The spokesman at the embassy issued a statement saying that Israel shares the grief of the Turkish people, offers condolences to the bereaved families, wishes speedy recovery for the wounded and hopes for positive news from those still trapped in the mine.
President Shimon Peres sent a letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, along with an offer of aid.
“I wish to extend my deepest condolences, and those of the people of Israel, to your country,” he said. “At times of tragedy we must all do what we can to help one another, and we have offered Turkey whatever assistance you require at this time.”
Magen David Adom offered the Turkish Red Crescent medical and humanitarian assistance, with a spokesman saying that it had teams trained to deal with disaster of this magnitude ready to send to Turkey if needed.
Many countries, including Israel, Greece, Germany, France, the United States, Poland, Iran and the European Union, offered to help with the rescue efforts.
Turkey’s disaster agency, however, has so far rejected the offers, saying that no help was required.
In 2011, at the height of tension between Israel and Turkey over the findings released a month earlier by the UN commission that investigated the Mavi Marmara incident, Israel transferred a number of mobile homes and other supplies to help Ankara deal with a devastating earthquake that hit eastern Turkey near the city of Van. More than 600 people were killed in that disaster.