Minister Ya'alon
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Turkish PM Erdogan
Photo: Reuters
Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AFP

Ya'alon: Israel won't apologize for flotilla raid

Minister Ya'alon met Turkish foreign ministry officials last week as part of attempts to solve crisis with Ankara; stressed Israel won't apologize for actions but will compensate victims' families

Minister Moshe Ya'alon met with Turkish foreign ministry senior officials last week, Channel 2 reported Thursday.


The meeting, which was held in Europe, was meant to resolve the crisis brought on by May 2010's deadly flotilla raid. State officials told Ynet this was a recent development and confirmed there were several meetings with Turkish representatives held last week.



Israel has stressed it will not apologize for the IDF's actions, but Minister Ya'alon expressed willingness to pay compensation for the families of the victims. "Israel is willing to regret the loss of lives but will not apologize," a source familiar with the issue said. "We cannot guarantee Israel and Turkey will reach an understanding," he noted.


State officials told Ynet that Israel wants to calm the atmosphere and convene a meeting with high ranking Turkish officials, referring to the president, defense minister and prime minister. It remains unclear whether such a meeting will in fact take place.


"The Turks were on the Iran-Syria axis and this axis is not looking good these days," a state official added. "Moreover, Turkey still fears the Palmer Committee report (the UN-appointed committee investigating the flotilla) and therefore it is expected Erdogan will try to calm relations with Israel."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart this week expressing hope that relations between the two nations will improve. He added that Israel's government will be happy to work with the new Turkish cabinet.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday criticized activists planning to challenge Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying their efforts are neither "necessary or useful" in helping the Palestinian people of Gaza.


"We do not believe the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza," Clinton told reporters at a news conference with the visiting foreign minister of the Philippines.


"We think that it's not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke action by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves."


On Wednesday, the State Department specifically discouraged US citizens from taking part in the flotilla, which is planned for later this month.


AP contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 06.24.11, 00:33
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