Netanyahu clarifies: Gaza blockade won’t be lifted as part of Turkey deal

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Israel will not lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip as part of a deal that renews relations with Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Dec. 21.

“They (Turkey) argued against the blockade on Gaza and of course we don’t intend to change our naval blockade policy,” Netanyahu said according to Arutz Sheva. “Even though Israel is the country that transfers the (goods for the) existence and rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, we cannot give up on our security.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. /Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. /Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

In reports last week, Hamas officials were quoted as saying that Israel was considering easing the blockade.

Hamas official Ahmed Yussuf told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an News Agency that “the Turkish brothers” won’t sign a rapprochement agreement that does not include the “welfare” of Gaza residents.

But, Netanyahu said that “we still don’t have understandings and we aren’t there for a simple reason: there are topics that interest us, such as Hamas activity, but that’s not enough for us, we want to ensure that there won’t be any terrorist activity from Turkish territory,” Netanyahu said.

A seaport under Israeli supervision that would allow the import and export of goods to Gaza is said to be under consideration, but Israel has strong reservations about such a move as Hamas continues to attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza via disguised fishing boats.

While Turkey and Israel are moving to improve ties, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there will be no such reconciliation between Moscow and Ankara. Putin has accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of instituting a “creeping Islamization” in Turkey.

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