PM: We still won't apologize to Turkey over 'Marmara' raid

Despite worsening bilateral ties, Netanyahu vows Jerusalem won't apologize for stopping arms smuggling to Hamas in Gaza.

September 4, 2011 11:29
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after Eilat attack 311. (photo credit: GPO / Avi Ohayon)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday that Israel will not apologize to Turkey over the events of the Mavi Marmara raid, in light of the recommendations put forward by the Palmer report on the incident. "We don't need to apologize for our soldiers who protected themselves against violent attacks by IHH activists and we don't need to apologize for working to stop weapons being smuggled to the terror group Hamas," he said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

"Israel expresses regret that lives were lost, and I hope that we will find a way to improve relations with Turkey," Netanyahu added.

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Netanyahu said that the report which was presented to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday pointed out what Israel already knew. "We reserve the full and basic right to defend ourselves. We do not need to apologize for working to protect our citizens and our children," he added.

Netanyahu praised the work of the soldiers who took part in the raid and said "you protect us, so we'll protect you in any international forum."

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The prime minister said that Israel was never interested in a break down in relations and even now is not interested.

Netanyahu's comments came after a weekend when ties between the two countries worsened.

Turkey’s threat to take Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague following Friday’s release of the Palmer Commission report is a “pistol firing blanks,” officials said on Saturday, pointing out that the court only adjudicates issues brought to it by two disputing states, or referred to it for an advisory decision from the UN.

Israel won’t agree to go to the court, the official said, and the UN will be hard-pressed to ask for an advisory opinion after a UN body, the Palmer Commission, found that the blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, as was Israel’s interception of vessels trying to break it.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkish television on Saturday that Ankara would apply to the International Court of Justice next week for an “investigation into what the Gaza blockade really is.”

This was one of five actions Davutoglu announced at a press conference on Friday, even before the Palmer Report was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, based on a leak of the complete report that vindicated Israel’s blockade but faulted the IDF for unreasonable and excessive force, even though it acknowledged Israel Navy sailors came up against strong, pre-meditated resistance by those on board the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.

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