PM: No compensation to Turkey

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 2, 2010 20:51

Netanyahu says Israel can't pay any price to free Schalit.

2 minute read.



Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the pr

binyamin netanyahu 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented on recent diplomatic developments between Turkey and Israel in an interview with Channel 1 that aired Friday evening.

Netanyahu rejected the notion that Israel would be pay any form of compensation or damages to Turkey for the nine Turkish citizens who were killed in the boarding of the Mavi Marmara as it sought to break the IDF blockade on Gaza.

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"These announcements bear no relation to what occurred [in the meeting]," said Netanyahu. He added, "Israel will not apologize that its soldiers defended themselves."

The prime minister stated that the secretive meeting between Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was a positive step towards repairing the Israel-Turkey relationship.

"It is not in the interest of Israel, or even Turkey, that this relationship continue to deteriorate," said Netanyahu.

He added, "When Ben-Eliezer told me [about the possibility of meeting with Davutoglu], I told him go and do it."

Netanyahu also expressed sympathy with the Schalit family during the interview but said that as prime minister he could not pay any price to free their son if it would lead to the deaths of Israeli civilians.

"I understand the campaigns to free Schalit, but not at the price of the children, elderly and others who will die if the terrorists freed return to commit terror attacks," said Netanyahu.

The prime minister added that the last time Palestinian terrorists were freed from Israeli prisons as part of an agreement, 13 Israelis were killed in a terror attack planned by one of the men released.

Netanyahu criticized the Palestinian leadership's unwillingness to engage in direct talks.

"We walk towards peace and they distance themselves from it," said Netanyahu. "If they can't sit with us, how can we achieve peace?"


The prime minister stated his willingness to discuss the end of the government's building freeze in Judea and Samaria, set to end in September, with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He went as far as to say that he would go to Ramallah to negotiate with Abbas if the PA chairman would come to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also sought in the interview to downplay accounts of increased pressure from President Obama regarding Israel's stance towards the Palestinians and talk of poor relations between the White House and the current Israeli government. He emphasized that Israel and the US continue to share a strong connection despite perceived differences with the current Obama administration.

The prime minister admitted that while Obama administration's approach towards Israel may be different from that of past US administrations, the US and Israel still share the same goals of preventing a nuclear Iran as well as achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

"There is a fundamental connection in basic interests between the US and Israel in two areas. One, to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And two, to achieve an immediate peace between the Palestinians and Israel," said Netanyahu.


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