Gantz backs PM’s reconciliation with Ankara

While he supports the PM's apology, the IDF chief supports actions of naval commandos who took part in raid.

March 25, 2013 00:43
1 minute read.
Benny Gantz at military forum, January 7, 2013

Benny Gantz speaks at senior military forum 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz expressed support on Sunday for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to reach a detente with Turkey through an apology over the result of the naval raid on the Turkish flotilla.

“The cutting of relations has many consequences, and the prime minister acted correctly,” Gantz said.

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At the same time, the chief of staff stressed that he fully supported the actions of the naval commandos who participated in the raid on violent IHH activists on board the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010.

He described the raid as “professional, determined, and ethical. Any other army would have completed this with dozens of dead. The commandos carried out a good operation,” Gantz added.

He expressed confidence that the commandos understood the factors that led the prime minister to reach out to Turkey.

Former Navy chief Maj.- Gen. Eliezer Marom expressed skepticism that the apology would result in improved relations with Turkey, and called for full backing to be provided to Navy commandos.

Speaking to Army Radio on Sunday, Marom said that the prime minister “sees the full picture... [but] I have doubts about the timing and motivation of this apology.” He described the Navy’s interception of the Turkish flotilla in 2010 as an important contribution to Israeli security, and part of a wider policy “which prevented the setting up of an Iranian port in Gaza.”

“I’m not sure that the apology will be worthwhile for Israel... I don’t think that tomorrow morning relations between us and Turkey will go back to what they were,” he added.

“It’s very important for soldiers to receive backing before, during, and after operations,” the ex-Navy commander said.

Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is in line with international law, and is aimed at preventing arms shipments to terror organizations, Marom pointed out.

“The Turkish government and other elements, despite requests by me... and government officials, preferred to let the IHH – a terrorist organization that is accused of supporting al- Qaida in Turkey itself – it allowed a flotilla of hate for Israel [to proceed],” Marom added. “They attacked us.”

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