Hamas thanks Turkey for Gaza efforts in Israel deal

Hamas thanks Turkey for Gaza efforts in Israel deal
Hamas has endorsed a 'controversial' deal between Turkey and Israel to normalise strained ties, allowing Ankara to drop a condition on lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
2 min read
28 June, 2016
Turkish President Erdogan (R) and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal met ahead of the deal [Anadolu]

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has thanked Turkey for its efforts on behalf of Gazans in a weekend reconciliation deal with Israel but urged it to increase pressure for an end to a decade-old blockade.

In its first reaction to the agreement, Hamas expressed its "thanks and gratitude to Turkish President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan" and the Turkish people late Monday.

The militant group also praised "official and popular Turkish efforts to help our people in Gaza and lighten the blockade" imposed by Israel.

The breakthrough Israel-Turkey deal announced on Monday following six years of acrimony will allow Turkey to deliver aid to Palestinians living in the Hamas-run territory.

It will also see Israel pay $20 million in compensation for a deadly 2010 commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which killed 10 Turkish activists.

But Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said his country's heavily criticised maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip will remain after the reconciliation deal with Turkey.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, including a devastating 50-day conflict in the summer of 2014.

Hamas "hopes that Turkey will continue to support the Palestinian people, to work for the total lifting of the blockade and to pressure the Zionist occupier to stop its aggression," it said.

However, Islamic Jihad, the second largest Islamist group in Gaza, rejected "any Arab or Muslim move to engage in normalisation with the Zionist enemy."

But it said it welcomed "any Arab or Muslim attempt to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people."