Israel is reportedly planning to limit the activities of a Turkish aid agency in occupied territories, including Jerusalem al-Quds, amid concerns over Ankara's growing influence among Palestinians.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Israel is reportedly planning to limit the activities of a Turkish aid agency in occupied territories, including Jerusalem al-Quds, amid concerns over Ankara's growing influence among Palestinians.
Israel's Hadashot TV reported on Saturday that Israel's top security body had drafted possible measures against the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) that is active in the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip.
Among the measures being considered against TIKA are imposing a general restriction on all its activities and requiring the agency to obtain individual permits for its projects, the report said.
Israeli officials, the report added, believe that TIKA hosts members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement at its offices, and that several of its staff have transferred funds and information to the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement.
Tel Aviv's decision to target the Turkish organization came after the recent uptick in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel positions.
Last month, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority had warned Israel about increasing Turkish activities in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Ha'aretz said the trio had told the regime about Erdogan's attempt to "claim ownership over the Jerusalem [al-Quds] issue."
It further accused Turkish Islamic associations of sponsoring an increasing number of programs and trips for thousands of Palestinians, and encouraging protests near the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
In June 2016, Israel and Turkey reached an agreement to normalize their relations six years after an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent their ties spiraling into a cycle of tensions in May 2010.
Their ties sank to a fresh low in May after they expelled their envoys amid growing tensions over the Israeli killing of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
At the time, Erdogan defended Hamas and slammed Israel’s decades-long crimes against the Palestinian people, saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had the blood of Palestinians on his hands.
“Reminder to Netanyahu: Hamas is not a terrorist organization and Palestinians are not terrorists. It is a resistance movement that defends the Palestinian homeland against an occupying power. The world stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine against their oppressors,” he tweeted.
Netanyahu hit back, saying, “A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last person to preach to us about combat ethics.”