Report: U.S. to offer Turkey major role in Mideast talks if it stops Gaza flotilla


The U.S. government is considering to offer Turkey a deal in which Ankara would stop a second Gaza flotilla that is due to depart later this month in exchange for the opportunity to host an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Ankara, the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported Friday.

Israel has been preparing to block the second aid flotilla sailing from Turkey to Gaza, one year after the Israel Defense Forces’ deadly raid on the first Gaza flotilla in which nine Turkish activists died. Turkey has demanded Israel apologize for the raid in order to restore Turkish-Israeli ties.

Today’s Zaman quoted the Turkish Hurriyet daily as reporting that the U.S. was due to officially ask Turkey to host a major peace conference in return for mending its ties with Israel and preventing the second Gaza-bound flotilla. The proposed peace summit would be similar to past major talks such as the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference and the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Netanyahu to UN Chief: Upcoming Gaza flotilla must be stopped


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday to stop the impending flotilla that is supposed to set sail to the Gaza Strip in May.

The Israeli prime minister told the UN Chief that the flotilla is being organized by extreme Islamists that are interested only in provocation. He added that the ship’s key goal is to fuel tensions, particularly in light of the fact that the Gaza Strip is open to all types of goods brought in via land.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization and Iranian proxy,” Netanyahu said, adding that “it was just recently revealed that part of Iran’s efforts is to arm [Hamas] and smuggle weapons into the strip.”

The prime minister then reminded the UN Chief of the recent incident of the Victoria ship earlier this month, upon which tens of tons of weapons from Iran were found and confiscated by Israel. Netanyahu told Ban that this is proof that Israel must act aggressively against the flotilla.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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