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What Israel's payoff for Turkish civilians means for Palestinians

Now that Israel has agreed to compensate the families of the Mavi Marmara casualties it calls terrorists, Palestinians are hoping to advance their own claims for compensation.
A Palestinian woman holds a Turkish flag as activists ride a boat during a rally ahead of the 4th anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident, at the seaport of Gaza City May 29, 2014. Nine activists, eight Turkish and one Turkish-American, died on May 31, 2010, when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship, which was part of a flotilla seeking to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. A Turkish court issued arrest warrants on Monday for four former Israeli military commanders on tri

As part of its reconciliation agreement with Turkey, Israel made a commitment to pay some $20 million to the families of those hurt during the Mavi Marmara flotilla raid. Inevitably, the clause prompted sharp responses in the Israeli political world. HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett said that he and the other ministers from his party will oppose the agreement because "compensation to the perpetrators of a terrorist act is a dangerous precedent Israel will regret in the future.” Former Minister Gideon Saar wrote on Facebook, “When the Palestinian Authority compensates the families of terrorists, we are outraged, and rightly so. … Creating this kind of precedent by compensating aggressors is not only an assault on our national dignity. It is also a serious strategic error by Israel, whose struggle against terrorism is far from over.”

But Israelis aren’t the only ones infuriated. The agreement to compensate those injured by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) actions, whether they were “terrorist activists,” as they are called in Israel, or “human rights activists,” as they are called in Turkey, has also angered groups in Gaza and the West Bank. For years, human rights organizations have tried to get the Israeli government to take responsibility for harming civilians, but Israel passed a series of laws that prevent Palestinians from suing for damages to body or property.

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