Hanin Zoabi in front of the Mavi Marmara
“Israel agreeing to transfer $21 million to Turkey constitutes a clear admission of guilt,” said MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List), who was on board the Marmara flotilla that attempted to reach the Gaza shores in 2010.
“Even if Israel has not admitted it, this (agreement) is its own admission of guilt for the murder of nine human beings, the injuring of dozens of people, abduction and pirate activity within international waters,” said Zoabi. “This agreement also shows that the Turkel Commission that investigated the flotilla event gave a false report, and that the state ran dishonest propaganda over everything regarding the Marmara.”
Despite her initial praise, Zoabi also criticized the agreement for not including Turkey’s original demand to end the blockade on Gaza. “The blockade murders people and must be stopped,” she said. “The agreement does not mention it, which leaves no choice other than to send more and more flotillas, and to continue fighting until Israel admits to its original sin that led to the Marmara, and until it removes the blockade from Gaza.”
In an interview with the Palestinain al-Quds newspaper, Zoabi emphasized that Balad views itself as part of the Palestinian national cause - not part of the Israeli left - and that it was at the forefront of the national Palestinian liberation project.
MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) added his opinion to the fray, explaining how the deal with Turkey might influence Israeli-Palestinian dynamics. “I would imagine that Palestinian legal minds are taking note of the Turkish model and calculating how much compensation to demand over Palestinian victims killed by the IDF during the occupation.”
Professing to be a peace demonstration, the Marmara was carrying hundreds of peace protestors to Gaza trying to end the Israeli blockade. The flotilla did not respond to the Israeli Navy’s instructions to turn towards Ashdod, and as a result the IDF lowered soldiers onto its deck, where they were attacked with melee weapons. The IDF soldiers opened fire, killing nine Turkish citizens (one also being a US citizen).