Palestinians Welcome Turkey Involvement in Gaza, Fayyad Says

Lebanese newspaper reports Ankara may supervise Gaza crossings as part of a deal to repair ties between Israel and Turkey.

Jack Khoury
Reuters
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Jack Khoury
Reuters

The Palestinians would support any move that would lift the Gaza blockade, including Turkey's possible involvement, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Saturday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah June 10, 2010.Credit: Reuters

Fayyad's comments came after the Lebanese Ad-Diyar newspaper quoted an Arab diplomatic source earlier Saturday, saying that Turkey could be given a central role in supervising the border crossings with the Gaza Strip as part of a deal to repair ties between Israel and Turkey.

The relationship between Israel and Turkey has deteriorated dramatically since the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31 in which nine people, including eight Turks and one Turkish-American, were killed.

"The Palestinian Authority welcomes any mediation that would lift the siege off Gaza," Fayyad told reporters, saying that alleviating the Strip's condition was "a general Palestinian interest, and doesn't strengthen this or that faction."

Palestinian flags flutter at Israel's border with Gaza, April 6, 2010Credit: AP

The Palestinian PM also said that according to "international agreements, all of Gaza's border crossings should be opened, and not just the Rafah crossing," thus referring to the temporary opening of Gaza's southernmost border crossing announced by Egypt in the wake of the flotilla raid.

According to the Ad-Diyar report, a new deal could see Turkey supervising all humanitarian aid entering Gaza, as well as committing to the blocking of weapons and money destined for Hamas.

In this position, Turkey would play a meaningful role in lifting the blockade of Gaza and a central figure in the Middle East which will enable the Islamic country to mediate between Israel and the Arab world in the future, as Turkey has sought in the past.
The report has not yet been validated by Turkish or Israeli officials.

In his talk with reporters, Fayyad also expressed his hopes that the proximity peace talks with Israel would lead to direct negotiations which would, eventually, lead to the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.

The top PA official responded to criticism over the PA's boycott of settlement goods, saying that it was not an attempt to hurt Israel but a confiscation of goods produced in the settlements, who he said were considered an obstacle to peace.

On Friday Turkish President Abdullah Gul told the French daily Le Monde that Israel must make amends to be forgiven for a commando assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, including apologizing for the attack and paying compensation.

Gul added that if Israel made no move to heal the rift, then Turkey could even decide to break diplomatic relations.

In an interview published on Friday, Gul said the Israeli attack at the end of May, which killed nine activists, was a "crime" which might have been carried out by the likes of al-Qaida rather than a sovereign state.

"It seems impossible to me to forgive or forget, unless there are some initiatives which could change the situation,"Gul was quoted as saying by Le Monde.

Asked what these might be, he said: "Firstly, to ask pardon and to establish some sort of compensation." He added that he also wanted to see an independent inquiry into the botched raid and a discussion on lifting Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Asked if Turkey might break relations with Israel if they did nothing, Gul said: "Anything is possible."

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