While Israel is aware of the implications of its decision to refrain from issuing an apology, "we cannot conduct ourselves based on ultimatums," the official said.
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Another senior official estimated in a talk with Ynet that while the Turkish government may take steps against Israel and not return its ambassador to Tel Aviv, Ankara will not be severing its ties with Jerusalem.
"The severing of ties goes against Turkey's strategic interests," he said. "They wish to engage in a policy of mediating between everyone."
An official familiar with the complexities of Israel-Turkey relations said earlier Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no intention of issuing an apology to Ankara.
"The PM is determined not to issue an apology," he said, adding that "Jerusalem has conveyed messages to Washington whereby it does not intend to apologize for the incident."
Israel's forum of top eight government ministers discussed the Turkish affair in a recent meeting; four of the ministers – Ehud Barak, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Yuval Steinitz – were in favor of apologizing to Ankara. However, as noted, PM Netanyahu decided to object to an apology.
"The prime minister knows that the public objects to apologizing to Turkey, and he apparently chose to go with what the public thinks," an Israeli official familiar with the affair said.
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