Israel is not ready to apologize to Turkey for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara last year, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Thursday for the second day in a row ahead of an expected United Nations report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident. Ya'alon, however, added that such a decision may be debated in Jerusalem and that the doubt he has expressed in recent days was his own.
"We are not ready to apologize, as apology, actually, is taking responsibility. You know, our soldiers on the Mavi Marmara were fighting to defend their lives," Ya'alon told foreign journalists.
Asked whether Israel might change tack, Ya'alon allowed that apologizing to Turkey "might be a debate" in the government and said his demurral was his personal opinion.
"We still have six days" to decide, he said, referring to the announcement that the inquiry set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer would publish its findings on July 27.