Israel needs more time and effort to recognize Genocide – former member of Knesset

11:44 • 16.12.17



The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel is not linked to specific political processes or developments, a former member of the Knesset said in an interview with Tert.am, admitting at the same time that the historic move will require a considerable time and effort.


Alexander Tsinker shared his comments and expectations in the light of US President Donald Trump's statement on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the different countries' reaction to it (particularly the Turkish president's statements and the idea of initiating a discourse in Israel over the Genocide recognition issue).


The politician said he is hopeful that Israel's political leadership will eventually acknowledge the historical fact.

He also hailed the recent statement by Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party.


“I only wonder why he wouldn’t raise the issue when he was the minister of finance and a member of the [governing] coalition. He had higher chances to affect the passage of the bill then,” he noted.

The Israeli politician said he also knows that the Knesset recently raised the issue, submitting the decision to the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee which passed its positive decision in a meeting, allowing the Knesset to bring the bill to the plenary session agenda.

“It is much more realistic than Yair Lapid’s plan to put forward his own bill, which evidently will not pass [the Knesset]. It is more an impulsive and populist decision without any chances of a serious success,” he said, noting that even the political parties backing the idea are realistic enough to see that the effort would be time-consuming.

 

Asked when the country is likely to recognize the Genocide, Mr Tsinker said, “Israel is now carrying out more focused work. The population and we, as an Armenian-Israeli public forum, conduct meetings with the people. Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov is also doing a lot in that direction as the head of the Armenian-Israeli Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group. All the factions in the Knesset have lawmakers who too, raise the question. And those lawmakers’ number is increasing over the course of time, with the public surveys revealing an increasing support to the Armenian Genocide recognition.  As to when those quantitative data will become also qualitative, it is hard to predict it for now, but I do want to hope that they will be translated to reality in the couple of years to come,” he added.

Addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements, and their impact on the Genocide recognition process, Tsinker pointed out first to a possible deterioration in the Turkish-Israeli relations. “As a matter of fact, there is also a pro-Turkish and a pro-Azerbaijani lobby in Israel, which means that in case Israel recognizes the Armenia Genocide, the relations between Turkey and Israel will deteriorate. Turkey is our strong regional neighbor with whom we maintain a high trade turnover, whereas from Azerbaijan, Israel purchases 30% of its oil supply. So it is by putting forward these facts to the Israeli leadership that the lobbyists suspend the Armenian Genocide recognition efforts,” he added.


Tsinker also pointed out to an emerging pro-Armenian lobby in Israel, which he said is warning against linking historical events to current political and economic interests. “I think the Israeli leadership will, sometime in the future, listen to what their voters say to them. With our society being largely in support of recognition, I think that the Israeli parliament and government will eventually mind their opinion,” he said.


Asked to comment on the Jerusalem developments’ possible impact on the Armenian-Israeli relations and Armenia’s current concerns, Tsinker noted with regret that the EU member states and countries in the Asian and American continents too, have voiced similar concerns.

 

“I don’t think these two issues are interrelated. Trump had promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the course of his pre-election campaign. For us, it has just a declarative significance, as Jerusalem has been and remains the capital of Israel. It has been more than 3,000 years now that Jerusalem is considered the center of the Jewish people. So he didn’t say anything new. I hope that the unrest in the Gaza Strip and Jordan’s right bank sector will gradually ease, because no changes have taken place, as a matter of fact. I think we still have to wait for Trump’s new settlement plan. We need to later make our judgements to see to what extent they can be a realistic guideline,” said the politician.

 

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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