The Egyptian authorities have sent a message to Israel asking the government not to allow Turkish aid to get through to the Gaza Strip, Channel 10 TV has reported. Egypt’s move was made in the context of the reconciliation efforts being made by Ankara and Tel Aviv.
“The main obstacles facing Turkey-Israel reconciliation talks are the Turkish demand to have a direct route to Gaza in order to send aid for the Palestinians and the Israeli demand that Turkey deports Hamas leaders and bans their activities,” an unnamed official told the Israeli TV channel. “Egypt has asked Israel not to allow Turkey to have any kind of government-level activities in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and enjoys official Turkish support.”
According to Israel’s former ambassador to Turkey, Alon Liel, the two countries “must reach an agreement within three to four weeks at most”; he warned of the failure of the talks if they are extended beyond this time. “Israeli is seeking to a reach an agreement with Ankara over the natural gas pipeline to Turkey before a scheduled meeting between Netanyahu and his Greek and Cypriot counterparts scheduled for 28 January.”
Turkey has placed conditions on any restoration of diplomatic relations with Israel: Tel Aviv must apologise for the attack on the Freedom Flotilla taking aid to Gaza in 2010; pay compensation for the families of the 9 Turkish citizens killed during the attack by Israeli commandos; and lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
To date, Israel has only agreed to apologise and pay compensation. Prime Minister Benjamin has made it clear that he will not lift the siege of Gaza.