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MIDEAST > Israeli minister calls to recognize Armenian 'genocide'

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse

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An Israeli cabinet minister said on Tuesday that the Israeli state ought to change its policy and recognize the 1915 killings of Armenians as an act of genocide.

Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, answered a motion in parliament by opposition lawmakers marking the event's anniversary.
 
"I think it is definitely fitting that the Israeli government formally recognize the Holocaust perpetrated against the Armenian people," Erdan, Israel's environmental affairs minister said.
 
Israel has long avoided acknowledging the mass killings of Armenians as genocide, in deference to already strained ties with Turkey which rejects that view.
 
Relations with Turkey have been tense since the 2010 killings of nine Turkish activists in a commando raid on a Gaza-bound ship. Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel after that incident and suspended military cooperation.

Erdan said the Israeli government had not formally changed its policy on the Armenia's past, adding: "we should definitely support holding an open and in depth discussion that analyses the data and facts."

Armenia claims about 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War One.

Successive Turkish governments and most Turks feel the charge of genocide is an insult. Ankara argues that there was heavy loss of life on both sides during fighting in the area.

Israeli lawmakers voted that the issue would face further debate in the education committee. Any parliamentary decision on the issue would not be binding on the government.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman at Israel's Foreign Ministry, said Israel's formal position on the Armenian killings remained that the issue "must be decided by historians and not be subject to political deliberation."
 
The Armenian issue has stirred emotions in Israel where many feel that the Jewish people who suffered six million dead in the Nazi Holocaust during World War Two have a moral obligation to identify more closely with the Armenians' ordeals.
 
"Those who demand recognition of the murder are not engaged in lobbying but are simply seeking historic justice," Israeli Parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin, a member of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, said.
 
Nino Abesadze, a lawmaker with the centrist Kadima party, counseled against linking the issue to relations with Turkey.
 
"We must not link our sentiments about the Armenian tragedy to considerations about other dangers in the region. Events such as genocide are above politics," Abesadze said.

June/13/2012

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Erik Johansson

6/14/2012 9:32:38 PM

@Chas. A better idea for this minister would be to take a stroll on Talat Paşa Caddesi in Ankara and contemplate for a while.

Turk down under

6/14/2012 4:04:16 PM

Chas: You're a walking encyclopedia! Where do you store it all? :)

Chas Spencer

6/14/2012 2:27:51 PM

This Israeli Minister should not wait for Armenian Genocide Recognition, while at it he should travel to Armenia & place a wreath at the Drastanat Kanayan Memorial, who in 1941 organised a 18.000 strong Armenian Whermacht Division, was a General of Nazi Whermacht and known as General DRO. They Paticipated in invasion of USSR & ostensibly served in Crimea & Caucasus. It has been a longstanding Rumor that they also gave Manpower to Einsatzgruppe "D" atached to the11th Army, Whermacht. Good Luck!

Erik Johansson

6/13/2012 11:03:46 PM

The right move at the wrong moment. Some will claim that this is just a political move in the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Israel and Turkey. But I´m sure that in a country of genocide survivor descendants, there are many who support historic justice for others in the same situation.

Bagudu Bagudu

6/13/2012 8:59:46 PM

revenge because Turkey demand justice. Israel is giving secret support to the Kurds, how could such an enemy of Turkey be an ally for such long time?

Turk Uzan

6/13/2012 8:38:47 PM

@ Eli Atar, I appreciate the fact that there are still many Israeli's that remember not long ago we were friends and the fact that we did help you trough history where others were persecuting you. If Israel would get over its stubbornness and apologize for our dead citizens, I believe we could start mending wounds again. This year, Israeli-Turkish business/trade growth was 30% !! The problem are the governments P.s Armenia's first defense minister ever was an ex Nazi SS officer.

Turk Uzan

6/13/2012 8:32:29 PM

@Zareh Sahakian, the Azeri's are preparing for war. With weapons they bought from the same Israel (worth 1.6 billion) soon after, their PM said in a press conference they were preparing to take back Karabagh. The recent outbursts are no coincidence. haha let's see how you do without Russia backing you. You are still officially in war, no one lost, the battle got suspended I think your nationalism blinds you if you think your army can compete with modern Azeri forces Better you don't talk big

Turk Uzan

6/13/2012 8:26:23 PM

Anyway, Israel will never accept this. Since it would hurt their holocaust industry a great deal. It's the whole reason of their existence and the reason people feel empathetic towards them. Armenia should go to court (so we can prove it isn't true once and for all), Israel should stop trying to provoke us, or hope that this will make Turkey bend a little. @ V Tiger, Hahahhahahah yes and while were at it we'll give you mount Ararat and 1/3rds of Turkey with it, like your PM wants

Turk Uzan

6/13/2012 8:21:51 PM

While the worlds foremost experts on Ottoman, Muslim, Turkish history disagree. (Bernard Lewis is a very good example). In fact even Hrant Dink disagreed. He said what the Turksh gov claims (very simplified) "both sides killed each other in times of chaos and crisis, many died of disease and hunger" The Armenian diaspora labeled him a traitor, when he got shot by some delusional kid he became an Armenian hero among the Diaspora.

Turk Uzan

6/13/2012 8:18:05 PM

Yet Armenians rather pressure governments in countries mainly with large (and or influential) Armenian minorities in to accepting their claims. Their claims are baseless and false, they know this better then the we do. They love to make a lot of noise and tell everyone how the world has accepted their claims etc. While this is far from the truth, 20 something countries, with large Armenian minorities and Armenian Diaspora funded organizations.
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