In light of reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may apologize to Turkey for the flotilla incident of this past May, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman takes the offensive and calls the idea a “cave-in to terrorism.”
The two fire-fighting planes Turkey sent to Israel last week to help extinguish the Carmel fire has been seen as a window of opportunity to help assuage the hostility that has characterized the two countries’ relations in recent months.
Netanyahu is seeking to take advantage of the latest developments to warm relations with Israel’s former ally. He is said to be considering issuing not only a public apology for the incident, but also the payment of reparations to the families of those killed in the flotilla incident. The Prime Minister would insist, according to the reports, that Turkey acknowledge that Israeldid not act maliciously.
Lieberman: Turkey Should Apologize, Not Israel
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Israel Our Home party and a former top aide to Netanyahu, is fuming at the idea. “It is Turkey that should apologize, not Israel,” his aides are saying, adding, “An apology to Turkeywould mean caving in to terrorism.”
Throughout much of the past decade, Israeli-Turkish relations in the economic, diplomatic, and even military spheres have been very friendly and productive. This began to change when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an began openly courting extremist Islamic countries – and this process is not expected to be reversed simply because of an Israeli apology.
The tensions intensified in May when the Turkish IHH terrorist group dispatched a flotilla to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade of the area. Though the ships were said to be carrying humanitarian aid, convoy flagship Mavi Marmara was in fact laden with terrorists and arms; Israel demanded that it halt and dock in Ashdod. When it did not, IDF soldiers boarded the ship, were attacked by the terrorists and others, and killed nine of them in the ensuing battle.
Source material can be found at this site.