Israel promises to lift blockade on Palestinian territories: Turkish PM

RAMALLAH, March 22 (Xinhua) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday phoned Palestinian leaders following his Israeli counterpart’s apology to Turkey over a 2010 raid against Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla and said Israel has promised to lift the blockade on imports to the Palestinian areas.

After the apology, agreement was reached between Turkey and Israel to normalize the bilateral relations.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that President Mahmoud Abbas extended “his deep appreciation to the Turkish government’s positions that support the Palestinian cause and the peace process.”

Meanwhile, a Hamas statement said that Erdogan called Khaled Mashaal, the politburo chief of the militant group that controls Gaza, and told him that Israel has promised to compensate the families of the Turkish victims and to relax the blockade on imports to the Palestinian areas.

Hamas, according to the statement, considered the Israeli apology as “a victory and big achievement for Turkey.”

U.S. President Barack Obama brokered the phone call between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just ahead of his departure after a three-day visit.

Turkey severed diplomatic and security ties with Israel after nine of its citizens were killed in May 2010 during a violent confrontation with Israeli commandos onboard the Mavi Marmara, part of an international six-vessel flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists who sought to breach the maritime blockade Israel imposes on the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 23.03.2013)

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