Ya'alon: Turkey's demand that Israel apologize 'rude'

"It wasn't our side that spoiled relations, and I expect they will not [restore diplomatic relations] even after the apology," minister says.

August 8, 2011 09:40
1 minute read.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon.

yaalon office 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon voiced disapproval Monday over Turkey's demand that Israel issue an apology for its role in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident in which nine activists were killed as the IDF intercepted the ship. Speaking to Israel Radio, the deputy prime minister called the request "rude."

His statement came the day after he attended a forum meant
to discuss the publication of the UN Palmer report on Israel's conduct last summer during the raid of the Turkish liner.

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Release of UN report on Mavi Marmara deferred
Ya'alon: Turkey wants apology, not reconciliation

"There was a provocation here that the Turkish government is also responsible for," he said. "It wasn't our side that spoiled relations, and I expect they will not [restore diplomatic relations] even after the apology."

Turkey has demanded an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation payments to the family of the victims, as well as a lifting of the Gaza blockade.

Ya’alon echoed comments he made two weeks earlier that while Israel agreed to express regret for the loss of lives, it would not apologize. There is a huge difference, he said, because an apology means taking responsibility for the action.

The UN-commissioned report is widely believed to uphold the legality of Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, as well as the right of Israel to stop the flotilla – while taking the IDF to task for using excessive force in stopping the Mavi Marmara.

The report is also believed to highlight Turkish government links with the flotilla, which resulted in the death of nine Turks when IDF commandos boarded the ship.

Its planned release has been postponed for about a month to allow Israel and Turkey to find a formula to renew full diplomatic ties and obviate the need to release the report, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said.

Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report

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