Livni: Hopeful after Turkish reconciliation

Ya'alon, Livni, Yacimovich praise move as "important step" in safeguarding mutual interests of Israel, Turkey.

Liberman 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Liberman 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of diplomatic negotiations, praised the agreement reached between Israel and Turkey on Friday, expressing hope that the deal will lead to normalization with other countries in the region.
Livni said the pact was strategically smart and an excellent final note on which to end US President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel.
“This is a very important step, and the right one,” Livni said. “In these times, especially looking at what is happening in Syria, there are mutual security interests between Israel, Turkey and the United States,” Livni said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu informed Livni and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of the deal in advance, but kept Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett in the dark – reportedly because he feared they would leak the news prematurely.
Lapid and Bennett made a point of not reacting to the announcement.
Lapid released a lengthy statement that made no reference to Turkey, while Bennett’s office said he was waiting for a security cabinet meeting before judging the deal.
Nevertheless, Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun, who is close to Bennett and fought in recent IDF operations, slammed the agreement.
“The apology to the Turks is a knife in the back of IDF soldiers and their officers,” Chetboun said.
“It sets a bad precedent that encourages anti-Zionist groups to continue their efforts to delegitimize Israel.”
Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, who was on the Mavi Marmara, criticized the agreement from the opposite side.
“It sends a wrong message that a price does not have to be paid for crimes like Israel did on the Marmara,” she said.
Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom praised the agreement and expressed satisfaction that Israel did not have to stop the blockade of Gaza.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich also praised Netanyahu’s apology, saying it is “best to swallow one’s pride and do what is beneficial for the state.”
“Hopefully reconciliation with the Turks after three years is the first step towards a new policy of strengthening Israel’s diplomatic and strategic standing,” Yacimovich said in a statement.