The Knesset will hold a special session Tuesday to discuss the Armenian genocide – at this sensitive time, when Israeli officials are in Ankara negotiating compensation for the families of the Turks killed during the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.
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On May 31, 2010, nine activists – eight of them Turkish nationals – were killed when Israeli commandos raided a protest flotilla heading for Gaza. The Knesset has held discussions on the Armenian genocide at sensitive times before; for example, last year the day before a report by the state comptroller on the Mavi Marmara incident.
"MKs will have to decide between the benefits of the strategic relationship with Turkey and the moral duty not to ignore the Armenian genocide that occurred in the last century," MK Reuven Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker, told a delegation from Turkey at the Knesset Monday.
"I think that as human beings and as Jews we must not ignore the tragedies of other nations and must continue making this point, regardless of our friendly relationship with Turkey."
A little over a century ago, around 1.5 million Armenians died during campaigns by the Ottoman army.
Rivlin said apologizing to Turkey on the Mavi Marmara incident was understandable because of the need for strategic and diplomatic relations, but it was unconscionable that the Knesset would ignore the Armenian genocide for these reasons.
"This isn't an accusation aimed at Turkey today, or at the current Turkish government. It is precisely because we are Israelis and have heard denials of the atrocities that befell us that I think the Knesset couldn't possibly ignore this tragedy, which has solid, established historical facts," Rivlin said.
"We find it hard to forgive when other nations ignore our tragedy, and we must not ignore the tragedy of another nation. This is our moral duty as human beings and as Jews."