President Rivlin calls for restraint amid diplomatic row with Turkey

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called for restraint in the wake of a new row between Israel and Turkey over the violent events that occurred on Monday along the border of the Gaza Strip. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s resolve in thwarting attempts by Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip to infiltrate the state of Israel, calling the high death-toll of 62 Palestinians ‘a genocide’, while labeling Israel ‘a terrorist state’. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to those comments, stressing that Erdogan was in no position to “preach morality” to the state of Israel because of his support to the Islamist Hamas organization, an internationally recognized terror group that vocally aspires to annihilate the Jewish state. The exchange of accusations and rhetoric between the two leaders has led to a decision by Ankara and Jerusalem to expel each other’s senior diplomats. In an efforts to alleviate the tension between the two countries, however, President Rivlin – who visited an Israeli Kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, stressed the need to ‘refrain from unhelpful dialogue that both sides will regret later’. “I really think that we better, both sides, refrain from this dialogue because for sure we will really regret about what we are saying. President Erdogan has said that also many times, not only to Prime Minister Netanyahu, also to President (Shimon) Peres. Always he finds a way in order to really criticize Israel and blame Israel when he knows very well that what we have to do and what we are doing is protecting our borders from anyone who would like to affect the very existence of Israel,” Rivlin said.