Amid mounting Israel-Turkey tensions, Netanyahu pulls legislation on Armenian genocide

by WorldTribune Staff, June 3, 2018

As the rhetoric between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan became increasingly harsh, Netanyahu ordered the shelving of legislation that would recognize the Armenian genocide.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“It’s time to stop groveling before Erdogan. It is time to do the moral and right thing and recognize the Armenian genocide,” Knesset member Yair Lapid said in response to Netanyahu’s decision.

Erdogan had accused Netanyahu of having blood on his hands following the recent Hamas-fueled riots at the Gaza-Israel border.

“Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions. He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey,” Erdogan tweeted.

Netanyahu fired back, saying, “A man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to hold the occupation of northern Cyprus and invades Syria will not preach to us when we defend ourselves from an attempted infiltration by Hamas. A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last one who can preach to us about combat ethics.”

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead. Turkey – the Ottoman Empire’s successor state – rejects that the massacres, imprisonment and forced deportation of Armenians from 1915 amounted to a genocide.

Netanyahu has ordered the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation to remove from its agenda two bills calling to recognize the Armenian genocide, Hadashot TV reported on June 2.

According to the report, the bills were submitted by Knesset members Amir Ohana and Itzik Shmuli.

Responding to the report that the legislation will be shelved, Shmuli said, “Netanyahu and his ministers make declarations like lions but fall like flies every time Erdogan threatens. A day on which the prime minister of the Jewish state agrees to be an active partner in denying a genocide of another people that were massacred in concentration camps and death marches is a dark day and a deep moral stain on all of us.”

“What would we say if the world refused to recognize the Holocaust because of diplomatic discomfort and economic interests? If we share the denial of tragedies in history, we can never prevent those that may come in the future. I call on the government to leave political considerations aside and make the necessary historical justice,” added Shmuli.

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