Palestinians dismayed by Israel-Turkey deal

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A Palestinian child looks through a barrier as he waits at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 11, 2016.

Palestinians have expressed dismay at Turkey’s normalization of ties with Israel, with one Palestinian Authority official calling the deal a political trick by which Ankara and Tel Aviv were using Gaza to serve their interests. 

“The Turkish president wanted to get Ankara out of its international isolation, which was caused by his policies,” the daily Jerusalem Post quoted what it described as a senior Palestinian official as saying. 

Israel and Turkey announced on Monday they would normalize ties after a six-year rupture after Ankara reportedly discarded its demand that Tel Aviv’s naval blockade of Gaza be lifted. 

“It was sad to see him (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) chase after Israel in order to secure a weak deal,” the unnamed Palestinian Authority official said. 

Israel and Erdogan’s AK party “are the only ones who will be served by this agreement,” the official said, adding the deal will perpetuate Palestinian divisions and will not help the Gaza Strip.

“Israel will find excuses to cancel the rebuilding of Gaza, meaning that the final result of the deal as far as the Palestinians are concerned will be zero,” the source said. 

The deal “will turn out to be a political trick in which Erdogan is using the Gaza Strip,” the source added. 

Talal Abu Zarifa, a member of the Palestinian Democratic Front’s political bureau, said the deal “gets Israel out of being internationally isolated because of its crimes against the Palestinian people.” 

The deal, he said, would help Israel fight the international boycott to which it is subjected because of the regime’s settlement expansion policies. 

“Turkey preferred its own political interests regarding the war on terrorism over ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip,” Abu Zarifa also said. 

A Hamas official said leaders of the Palestinian resistance movement are “unhappy” with the details of the agreement because it maintains the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. 

Usama Hamdan, a member of the Hamas’ politburo, told China’s official Xinhua news agency that the movement considers the deal a Turkish affair and that Hamas is not concerned with it.

In the Gaza Strip where about 1.8 million Palestinians have been under a crippling Israeli blockade for years, resident Khaled Nimer said the Turkish deal with Israel is “unfair” toward the Palestinian people.

“It only benefits Israel. It primarily serves Israel, and the siege on Gaza will remain as it is,” the Reuters news agency quoted Nimer as saying.

“Gaza doesn’t just need an electricity plant or a hospital where people can get treatment, Gaza needs many things, it needs a lot of support, not just a hospital, or a passage to let us in and out,” he said.

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