Turkish ship with Gaza-bound aid docks at Ashdod, first since reconciliation

(JTA) – A Turkish ship packed with aid for the Gaza Strip arrived in Israel, the first since Turkey and Israel reached a reconciliation deal that allows such transfers.

The cargo ship docking at Ashdod, just north of Gaza, on Sunday afternoon, was bearing 10,000 tons of humanitarian equipment and food, Haaretz reported.

Israel and Turkey last month agreed to fully reestablish ties ruptured by Israel’s raid on a Turkish-flagged aid flotilla in 2010. Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish nationals in violent encounters during the raid on the ships, which were attempting to breach a blockade on the strip Israel imposed after the 2009 Gaza war with Hamas.

As part of the deal, Israel is keeping the blockade in place, but is easing the transfer of Turkish aid to the strip.

Israel also will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Turkish nationals. Turkey will press Hamas to return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers slain during wars with Hamas and two Israeli citizens still being held in the strip.

Families of the slain soldiers and their supporters protested the arrival of the ship, Haaretz reported.

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