Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon: Israel minister rules out flotilla apology to Turkey

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: AFP, 7-21-11

Israel will not “take responsibility” for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals by apologising to Ankara over its botched 2010 raid on a ferry heading for Gaza, a senior cabinet minister said on Thursday.

“We are not ready to apologise, as apologising is taking responsibility,” Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

“There is no room in my mind for any kind of apology that means taking responsibility,” he said of the pre-dawn raid on a six-vessel flotilla that attempted to sail to Gaza in May 2010 in a bid to break Israel’s naval embargo.

Yaalon’s comments come after several failed attempts by Israel and Turkey to patch up ties that frayed almost to breaking point after commandos stormed the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ferry that was leading the flotilla.

He said Turkish representatives continued to insist that relations could only be restored if Israel apologised for the raid, compensated the families of those killed and the injured, and lifted its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“We tried very hard to bridge the gap … (but) as long as they insist on this position I can’t see any agreement between the two sides,” he said.

“We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund,” he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed and the injured.

“A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation … means that you are responsible.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has repeatedly said the Jewish state will not apologise for the raid, although privately officials acknowledge that upgrading relations with Ankara would be desirable.

Media reports suggest there is increasing pressure on both sides for a final agreement that would restore once-strong ties between the two countries…. READ MORE

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Israel Political Brief July 21, 2011: Flotilla activists sent packing from Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: JTA, 7-21-11

The activists aboard the lone Gaza-bound flotilla ship intercepted by Israel were deported.

Some 15 activists, journalists and crew members were deported throughout the day Wednesday, a day after the French-flagged Dignity al-Karama was boarded by Israeli commandos near Gaza waters and towed to Israel’s Ashdod port. One activist was an Israeli journalist and was not deported.

The ship reportedly had declared a port in Egypt as its final destination in order to be able to leave Greek waters. At least seven other flotilla ships were detained and remain in Greek ports for safety violations.

The Dignity was carrying about 10 French and Greek activists, as well as three journalists and three crew members.

After boarding the ship, Israeli troops checked the condition of the passengers and offered them food and drink, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The passengers were turned over to officials from the Israel Police, the Immigration and Population Authority and the Interior Ministry. They could be denied entrance to Israel for the next 10 years because they are being deported.

Israel Political Brief July 21, 2011: Israel minister rules out flotilla apology to Turkey

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Source: AFP, 7-21-11

Israel will not “take responsibility” for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals by apologising to Ankara over its botched 2010 raid on a ferry heading for Gaza, a senior cabinet minister said on Thursday.

“We are not ready to apologise, as apologising is taking responsibility,” Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

“There is no room in my mind for any kind of apology that means taking responsibility,” he said of the pre-dawn raid on a six-vessel flotilla that attempted to sail to Gaza in May 2010 in a bid to break Israel’s naval embargo.

Yaalon’s comments come after several failed attempts by Israel and Turkey to patch up ties that frayed almost to breaking point after commandos stormed the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ferry that was leading the flotilla.

He said Turkish representatives continued to insist that relations could only be restored if Israel apologised for the raid, compensated the families of those killed and the injured, and lifted its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“We tried very hard to bridge the gap … (but) as long as they insist on this position I can’t see any agreement between the two sides,” he said.

“We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund,” he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed and the injured.

“A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation … means that you are responsible.”…READ MORE

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