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Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Deal Destabilizes Netanyahu Government

Although the rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey took six years to come about, the net impact on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appears to be additional tension and greater instability as at least three ministers he appointed are refusing to back the deal. Newly-appointed defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, education minister Naftali Bennett and justice minister Ayelet Shaked have all vowed to opposed the measure when it is presented to the cabinet for its approval on Wednesday; in particular because of the $21 million Netanyahu has agreed to pay into a fund for the families of those who died aboard the Mavi Marmara, all of whom were said by Israeli sources to be agents provocateur who were armed and intent on killing the Israelis who were preventing the Turkish ship from completing its mission of breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Those opposed to the deal argue it’s Turkey that should be apologizing and paying reparations to Israel. Bennett said “the state cannot pay compensation to terrorists who tried to harm the IDF.” Also preventing acceptance of the agreement is the absence of Turkish assistance in obtaining the bodies of two soldiers who were killed during Israel’s 2014 ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Those who support the agreement see it as an opportunity to return to the days when secular-Islamic Turkey served as a critical bridge to the more parochial Arab world.