As Turkey-Israel row escalates, Knesset MPs turn to Armenian Genocide recognition motion

Israeli lawmakers are once again introducing a motion to recognize the Armenian Genocide, this time in an apparent attempt to pressure Turkey amid tensions around the fatal clashes in Gaza.

Zionist Union MP Itzik Shmuly and Likud MP Amir Ohana said they would submit a bill to  officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Israeli lawmakers made the comment after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan verbally attacked Israel, recalled his envoy and said that Israel is “an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60+ years”, after the fatal Gaza border clashes.

Lawmaker Shmuly said that “We won’t accept moralizing from the anti-Semitic Turkish butcher who bombs thousands of Kurds in northwest Syria every day, and whose country is responsible for the genocide of the Armenian people and the historic horrors toward the Assyrians,” adding later that recognition of the genocide should have happened long ago, according to Jerusalem Post.

MP Ohana argued that the diplomatic reasoning behind not acknowledging the genocide no longer existed, emphasizing that “it’s not too late to do justice. The time has come to officially recognize the terrible injustice done to the Armenians. When Hitler presented Wehrmacht officers with his plan for mass extermination in Poland, including women and children, he soothed the concerns about the world’s reaction by saying ‘who, after all, speaks today of the Armenians?’ For that reason alone we should have already officially recognized this genocide”, according to Jerusalem Post.

Yesh Atid party leader opposition MP Yair Lapid introduced a bill to recognize the Armenian genocide earlier this year, but it was voted down in February, which means it cannot be submitted again until August.

Speaker Yuli Edelstein has called for the parliament to recognize the Armenian genocide, as did his predecessor, President Reuven Rivlin.

A diplomatic source said the situation is very delicate and that the final decision whether to recognize the genocide or not would be Netanyahu’s.

Israeli lawmakers are regularly raising the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide during times of tensions with Turkey – as a way to pressure Ankara.

The relations between Turkey and Israel escalated drastically because of the fatal clashes between Israeli armed forces and Palestinian protesters in Gaza on May 14.  More than 60 Palestinians were killed in the clashes.

Turkey and Israel expelled envoys after the incident.

Turkey’s president accused Israel for committing genocide.  The Turkish government declared a three-day mourning period.

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