The Knesset plenum held a special session on Tuesday to discuss the Armenian genocide, this following a motion to the agenda by MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) calling for the government to recognize the genocide, which is attributed to the Ottoman Turks, before its 100th anniversary next year.

During the session, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein mentioned that during his tenure as a minister he laid a wreath at the memorial dedicated to the victims of the genocide of 1915, which was built on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan, Armenia, and expressed his stance regarding ”the need to remember the massacre of the Armenian people.”

The discussion at the Knesset ”does not blame any modern country, rather it shows that we identify with the victims of the massacre and its terrible outcome,” Edelstein said, adding ”we are not placing blame; we are acting like Jews and being faithful to the truth and the suffering of another people. We cannot deny history and hold back human values out of diplomatic or political caution.”

MK Gal-On told the plenary session, ”Next year the world will mark 100 years since the massacre, and it is time that the government of Israel recognize the massacre of the Armenian people. This recognition is not
an attempt to foilur relations with Turkey, which are very important for the State of Israel.”

”The government should not sacrifice the recognition in the name of temporary interests,” the Meretz leader continued. ”Every time there’s a different diplomatic situation. When we’re for relations with Turkey, we don’t recognize the genocide and then there’s the Marmara [Turkish Gaza protest ship in 2010] and we change our mind.”

”Many of those who are sitting in the Knesset plenum are second-generation Holocaust survivors. As a nation that experienced the Holocaust, we cannot continue to ignore the Armenian genocide because of irrelevant considerations,” she said.

MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) said, ”We the Jews were next in line after the Armenians [to be killed]. Whoever thought of the Final Solution got the impression that, when the day comes, the world
will be silent, as it was about the Armenians. It is hard for me to forgive other nations for ignoring our tragedy and we cannot ignore another nation’s tragedy. That is our moral obligation as people and Jews.”

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu) responded to the motion on behalf of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, saying that ”as Jews and Israelis, we have a special sensitivity and even a moral
obligation to recognize human tragedies, including the Armenian genocide.”

"It is a good thing that the Knesset marks these tragedies. The State of Israel never denied what happened,” Landau said.

However, the tourism minister added, in recent years the topic became a political one between Turkey and Armenia and each side is trying to prove it is right.

"We hope these two countries will implement the agreement they signed several years ago and will continue to have an open, deep dialogue that will allow them to heal from the wounds that remained open for decades,” the minister said.

996 reads | 15.05.2014

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