Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Israel will not apologize to Turkey over ship raid

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has informed U.S. officials that his country will not apologize to Turkey over the 2010 raid of a Turkish vessel.

Binyamin Netanyahu (Beta/AP)
Binyamin Netanyahu (Beta/AP)

The ship was attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists died when they clashed with Israeli naval commandos who raided the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in a flotilla that was heading toward Gaza.

According to Israeli media, American officials "applied heavy pressure on Israel" to issue an apology, but Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Jerusalem would not do so.

Washington wishes to "stabilize Israeli-Turkish relations as soon as possible", as the crisis in those relations was "harming American interests in the region", Yedioth Aharonoth daily said.

Meanwhile, a report investigating the flotilla incident is expected to be published next week by the United Nations. The Palmer Committee probed the incident and will submit its findings to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will decide on the date of its publication.

Acceding to the Haaretz newspaper, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon addressed a ruling Likud party gathering this week to say that the committee had ruled in favor of Israel in regards to the legality of the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"The Turks are not ready to accept this. But the relationship had deteriorated even before. This is their policy, this is what they wanted, shame on them. So I said the Palmer Report needs to be published and I hope it will be published. Afterwards, we will meet (with the Turks)," the newspaper quoted Ya'alon as saying.

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