WASHINGTON – Israel and Turkey are holding secret talks in an effort to soften the conclusions of the Palmer Report, issued by a United Nations panel appointed to probe the events of the May 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla.
According to information obtained by Ynet, sources in Washington claimed that Israel's representative to the UN inquiry committee Yosef Ciechanover, his Turkish counterpart and other officials were crisscrossing between Jerusalem and Ankara in an attempt to use the report's conclusions to improve relations between the countries.
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The sources also noted that the American administration was applying pressure on both sides to end the prolonged feud, and therefore postponed the publication of the committee's final report, which was headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
According to the sources, if Israel and Turkey reach mutual understandings, the United Nations may decide to moderate the reports' conclusions and refrain from assigning direct blame on one of the sides.
Recently, US President Barack Obama held two phone conversations with Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in an effort to make progress between the sides.
Washington regards Ankara as a main strategic ally in the new Middle East, especially following the recent uprisings in the region and Syria's violent suppression of protesters.
On Monday, Turkish paper Hurriyet reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a Turkish demand to issue an apology for the killing of nine activists onboard he Mavi Marmara, but rescinded his decision three times due to internal pressure.
The Prime Minister's Office denied the report, calling it "untrue."
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