Israeli cabinet approves reconciliation deal

Published 29.06.2016 20:30

Israeli cabinet ministers Wednesday approved a deal with Turkey to normalize relations. The security cabinet approved the deal seven to three after four-and-a-half hours of debate, giving it final Israeli government approval, a spokesman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others have promoted its economic benefits, with talk of building a pipeline to Turkey to export Israeli gas and the need to find allies in the turbulent Middle East.

However, there have been objections over Israel agreeing to pay $20 million in compensation to families of the Turkish activists killed in the Mavi Marmara raid. There are also allegations that the agreement does not do enough to push for the return of four Israelis missing in Gaza, two of them soldiers who have been declared dead and two of them civilians believed held alive by Hamas.

Turkey will be allowed to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza as part of the deal, but Netanyahu has stressed that Israel's blockade on the enclave will remain in place.

Ankara said Tuesday that the two countries would begin the process of exchanging ambassadors this week.

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