JERUSALEM (Combined Sources)-The Israeli Knesset Tuesday unanimously voted to include the discussion of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide to its agenda. Discussions on to which committee the bill would be referred are expected soon.
The motion was introduced by Meretz Chairman, MP Haim Oron, who introduces this resolution every year to coincide with April 24.
Oron discussed this issues with representatives of Armenian National Committee of Jerusalem headed by Georgette Avakian. Archbishop Aris Shrvanian, the Jerusalem Patriarchate’s public affairs director was also present at the discussion.
“I say–let’s create the parliamentary framework for the Knesset to discuss an issue I believe the Knesset must discuss,” Oron told the Knesset. “It is our duty to the Armenian people and to ourselves.”
“There are those who say we should leave it to historians to determine whether it was genocide,” he said. “There are Holocaust deniers who say exactly the same thing. They rely on alleged historical sources and say there are doubts regarding the numbers and figures of the Holocaust.”
“Who else knows like we do that there are some things you must fight for. Exactly one year ago this motion moved to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s table, and there it was buried. I propose that the Education Committee conduct a procedural discussion on it,” added Oron.
Presenting the government’s response on the matter was Israel’s environmental protection minister Gilad Erdan, who said that Israel had the moral obligation to recognize the Genocide but found that the Knesset would not be the best forum in which to discuss the matter.
Erdan warned that such a resolution could adversely impact Israeli-Turkish relations.
“Israel has never denied the terrible acts carried out against the Armenians, and I am well aware of the intensity of the emotions given the number of victims and the suffering of the Armenian people.”
However, he said, Israel’s position is that “the study of the events must be done through open discussion, and backed by the historical data, not a political debate in the Knesset. Because of our understanding of the pain and suffering, and so that Israel does not become a side that deals with this from a purely political place, I ask that we take this issue off the Knesset’s agenda.”
Jerusalem ANC chairperson Georgette Avakian to RFE/RL’s Armenian service that in discussing the issue with Oron, she expressed that it was unacceptable to not recognize the Genocide because of Turkey, since that country had termed the Israeli incursion into Gaza genocide.
Avakian added that the ANC of Jerusalem has reached out to Knesset members, the foreign ministry and others in the government, adding that in a letter Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu pledged to personally follow up on this matter.