The reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey, which was made public a month ago, was finalized five years ago, Acting National Security Adviser Brig. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Nagel told the State Control Committee on Tuesday.
The negotiations between the sides were interrupted during this period, he said.
Committee Chairwoman MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) noted that cabinet ministers have said they do not receive enough information on the issues at hand, but Nagel said the ministers receive daily intelligence reports.
(Committee Chairwoman MK Karin Elharrar)
Elharrar said that in the past it was claimed that representatives of Israel`s National Security Council (NSC) do not update the ministers or present alternatives to them, as is required of them. It is unclear whether the ministers were properly briefed ahead of the reconciliation deal, she said.
”Going to war or purchasing a defense system – these are placed on the shoulders of the ministers without them really knowing what they are voting on,” Elharrar stated.
Nagel said the reconciliation deal with Turkey is an example of an organized decision-making process. ”Most of the deal and its principles were finalized some 4.5-5 years ago. There were lengthy discussions in the cabinet about the agreement – the wording of the apology, the request for compensation and the amount, the approach towards terror attacks on Turkish soil, and more,” he said.
”The ministers were updated throughout the negotiations with the Turks, and they were presented with several alternatives. The cabinet held four meetings on this issue over the past six months alone,” Nagel added.
Nagel refused to address the comments made by former NSC director Uzi Arad at a recent State Control Committee meeting. Arad said the cabinet`s discussions about the Gaza flotilla in May 2010 were ”thrown together and not serious, and therefore I refused to participate in them.”
Arad added that, ”We requested for months to deliberate on the issue and the prime minister refused to assemble the cabinet.” According to Arad, similar requests to assemble the cabinet regarding the threats from Iran were also ignored. ”The cabinet was neutralized, in violation of the law,” he said.
Nagel informed the committee that the NSC held seven discussions on the purchase of the F-35 jets before the cabinet began its deliberations on the issue. The NSC also held 16 meetings on the IDF`s multi-year plan ”Gideon,” he said.
MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Camp) said that – also based on remarks made by Minister Naftali Bennett – there is a sense that the ministers arrive at the meetings unprepared. The State of Israel does not have a consolidated approach to security issues, he warned, and called on the NSC to formulate such an approach.