Israel Considers Admitting Armenian Genocide Amid Diplomatic Row With Turkey

1.5 million Armenians killed by Ottoman government during and after World War I

On Wednesday, Israel’s Knesset voted to debate whether to recognize that the Ottoman Turkish government exposed Armenians to a genocide in the early 20th century, Haaretz reported.

It is not immediately known when the debate, lobbied by left-wingers from the Meretz party, is due to be held.

The Israeli government this time abstained from officially commenting on the motion, although it previously objected to holding such talks in the Knesset. Such proposals were blocked due to the special ties Israel had with Azerbaijan, but as tensions rose following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israeli statements last week, several parliamentarians announced plans to submit a draft bill on recognizing the Armenian genocide.

The said genocide, otherwise pegged the Armenian Holocaust, was essentially the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government during and in the aftermath of World War I, with most of them being citizens of the Ottoman empire throughout that period.

The Knesset proposal comes amid a raging diplomatic spat between Israel and Turkey, in which the two countries mutually expelled diplomats last week.

Separately, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan and his Israeli counterpart exchanged jabs, with Erdogan calling Netanyahu “the PM of an apartheid state,” who “has the blood of Palestinians on his hands,” and Netanyahu in his turn lambasting Erdogan for “the occupation of northern Cyprus” and “invading Syria.”

The row triggered a massive international response, with South Africa recalling its ambassadors from Israel and voicing concern over the death toll in Gaza, while Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg summoned their Israeli envoys to express their protest against the ongoing standoff in the region.