The New York Times reports: Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement to begin restoring full diplomatic relations after years of deep freeze, Israeli officials said on Thursday.
The two countries, once close regional allies, fell out after a deadly confrontation in 2010 between Israeli commandos and Turkish activists on a passenger vessel seeking to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The ship, the Mavi Marmara, was part of a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza when Israeli naval commandos rappelled onto the ship’s deck and killed nine activists after being met with violent resistance. A 10th activist died of his wounds much later.
A senior Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the reconciliation deal had not been finalized, said that Israel would create a compensation fund for the families of those killed on the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli news media reported that the compensation would be about $20 million, but Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the amount had not been set. [Continue reading…]