J'lem, Turkey may find resolution to flotilla legal issues

Turkish media says Israeli proposal to be presented to Erdogan which will prevent prosecution of involved IDF soldiers abroad.

December 8, 2010 21:59
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers

shayetet 13. (photo credit: IDF)


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A statement agreed upon between Israel and Turkey regarding the Mavi Marmara incident would likely remove the issue from the international legal agenda and prevent prosecution abroad of IDF soldiers involved in the action, according to assessments in Jerusalem.

These assessments were made Wednesday as an Israeli proposal was, according to Turkish media reports, expected to be brought to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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The website of the Hurriyet daily reported on its website that Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who at the beginning of the week held talks on the matter in Geneva with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's envoy Yosef Ciechanover, was expected to bring a proposal drawn up in those talks to the Turkish prime minister.

According to Hurriyet, there has been a debate about whether Israel would issue a state apology or a humanitarian one for the raid on the ship trying to break the Gaza blockade. Nine people were killed after IDF commandos lowered onto the ship, organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH, an organization listed by a number of countries as a terrorist group, came under attack.

Hurriyet, which said Israel wanted to use words such as "regret" or "sorry" in a statement, rather than "apology," quoted Erdogan as saying late Tuesday that "there is no such distinction as 'the people' or 'the state.' They [the Israelis] must apologize to the Republic of Turkey." In Jerusalem, meanwhile, it is widely assumed that Israel would only agree to a formula in which it was clear that Israel acted in self defense, that it retains its right to act in self defense in the future, and that it had no intention of harming the passengers of the ship.

Netanyahu is sure to come up against push-back from some in his own cabinet, including foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, if he agrees to anything resembling an apology, and also from the families of soldiers involved -- and wounded -- in the incident.

Nahman Cohen, the father of the commando seriously wounded when he was thrown from the upper to the lower deck of the ship, said the idea that the country would apologize or pay compensation was inconceivable and that he would fight any agreement.

Sources close to Lieberman, meanwhile, said Tuesday that an apology to Turkey would be tantamount to "surrender to terrorism." "Israel needs to ask for a Turkish apology, and for it to pay compensation for the aid it gave those supporting terrorists and the IHH," the sources said.

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