Netanyahu tells Clinton Israel won't apologize to Turkey

PM reportedly says Israel doesn't plan to apologize to Turkey before publication of Palmer report.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 17, 2011 13:41
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hillary ClintonH

Netanyahu Clinton 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused requests by US Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton on Tuesday to apologize to Turkey for the deaths of nine IHH activists aboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.

Netanyahu said that Israel does not plan to apologize to Turkey at the moment because it is still waiting for the publication of the Palmer report, Army Radio said.

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The report, whose details have been widely reported, upholds the legality of Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, but takes the IDF to task for using disproportionate force in enforcing the blockade.

Turkey is keen to bury the report, because while far from being a pro-Israel document, by upholding the legality of the blockade it places some of the responsibility for the flotilla fiasco on Turkey’s shoulders.
Turkey is demanding Israel apologize for the incident, pay compensation to the families of the victims, and lift the blockade of Gaza.

Israel has so far refused to apologize, although there is discussion about Israel apologizing for “operational mishaps” that led to the loss of lives. Nine Turkish citizens were killed on the Mavi Marmara when some of the passengers on the ship attacked IDF commandos who landed on it to enforce the blockade.

An Israeli refusal to apologize to the Turks will not only result in Turkish wrath, but also US anger, diplomatic officials said, explaining that the US is pressuring Netanyahu to accept a formula that would allow Israeli-Turkish relations to return to semi-normalcy.



The US, these officials said, see Israeli-Turkish cooperation as an important element in the Middle East, and one they are very keen to renew.

According to the officials, the US wants Netanyahu to back a formula that would include the following elements: an apology for “operational mishaps” in the Mavi Marmara incident that resulted in the loss of Turkish lives, a willingness to pay compensation through a fund to be set up by the Turkish government, a Turkish commitment that this ends the story and there will be no legal claims against Israel, the soldiers or officers involved and an agreement to bury the Palmer Commission report.

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