Friday, March 28, 2008

Knesset to decide on Armenian ‘genocide'


The Knesset, Israel's parliament, decided on Wednesday that a parliamentary committee will hold an unprecedented hearing on whether to recognize the World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, the Israeli media reported.

The decision to hold the hearing was proposed by left-wing Meretz Chairman Haim Oron and the government did not oppose the motion, the Israeli daily Haaretz said. The Knesset House Committee will decide whether the issue will be handed over to the Knesset Education Committee or to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The Israeli government has full support for Ankara's stance on the controversial 1915 incidents, Turkish diplomatic sources, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, told Today's Zaman on Thursday, expressing confidence that the Armenian allegations would not be officially recognized by Israel. Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife that emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia. "One should not ignore the fact that a small number of members of the Knesset, only 11 members, were present when on Wednesday, they agreed to take the issue to a committee. There is no change in the Israeli government's stance on this issue," the same sources said. (Today's Zaman)


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