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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Israel to capitulate to Turks over Mavi Marmara?

You may recall that a month ago, Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said that Israel will apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara when the United States apologizes to Pakistan for accidentally killing 24 Pakistani soldiers last November. Well, guess what happened on Tuesday.
According to a State Department statement, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar that “we are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military.” She also said “we are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.”
So does this mean that Israel will apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident?
Asked whether, according to this logic, the fact that the US had apologized to the Pakistanis meant that Israel was now re-thinking its position regarding Ankara, one government official said that “Israel is ready for a rapprochement with Turkey, which is in the mutual interest of both sides.” But, he said, it will take both sides to make it happen.

According to one diplomatic official, Israel and Turkey reached an agreement last summer, before the publication of the UN’s Palmer Commission report, whereby Israel would issue a mutually agreed upon apology along the lines of “we apologize if human errors were committed.” Israel also agreed to pay compensation to the families of the victims, and consent to the UN burying the Palmer report, which found that Israel acted within its legal rights in stopping the flotilla.

Turkey, for its part, agreed to return diplomatic relations to what they were before the flotilla, end all legal claims against Israel deriving from the incident, and agree to consider the matter closed.

The official said the deal was scuttled when Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan added another condition – that Israel lift the blockade of Gaza – and also when Ankara made clear that while the government would have no more legal claims against Israel, it could not stop individual citizens from pursing the matters in the Turkish courts.
I would add that I don't believe that Turkey would accept the language that Pakistan accepted. It's essentially the same 'regret' language that Israel has already given to Turkey - to no avail. The Turks are looking for an admission of guilt (and maybe more than that). The Americans did not give that to the Pakistanis (note “we are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military" and not 'we apologize for the losses we inflicted on the Pakistani military' or anything similar, and no admission of guilt)an admission of guilt, and Israel should not give one to Turkey either.

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