Ayalon: If Israel is attacked, we'll consider expelling ambassadors
Deputy FM praises Lieberman's policy, says incident with Turkish envoy was meant to send a message.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday that if Israel was attacked, all options would be on the table, including the expulsion of ambassadors.
In the interview with Channel 2, Ayalon praised Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's policies. "His policy is proving to be effective. We will not allow a situation where every country will kick us. If there will be an attack on Israel, we will leave all options open, including the expulsion of ambassadors," said the Deputy Foreign Minister. "We do not want to argue with anyone, but we will not sit idly by."
In the interview, Ayalon also said that the incident in which he reportedly 'humiliated' the Turkish ambassador by making him sit in a lower chair was intended to send the Turks a threatening message, not humiliate the ambassador.
"The story with the cameras wasn't planned, I didn't think it was being recorded, and if it was - I didn't think it would be aired with sound. My intention wasn't to humiliate, but to send a visual message. The ambassador didn't feel humiliated either - only once reporters started calling him. The picture was aimed at the Turks, to send them a message. I think what Erdogan did to Peres in Davos is humiliation, not this," said Ayalon.
Ayalon was referring to an incident in 2009 where Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, red-faced from verbally sparring with President Shimon Peres over the recent fighting in Gaza.
Until recently, Turkey had been a solid ally of Israel's from the Muslim world. However, Ankara has taken a stance against Israel over last year's war in the Gaza Strip, leading to a deterioration of ties.
Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador in Israel for clarification regarding a recent television drama depicting actors dressed as Shin Bet officers who kidnap babies.
During the meeting, Turkey's ambassador was seated in a low sofa, and facing him, in higher chairs, were Ayalon and two other officials - an arrangement carried out at Lieberman's orders.
A photo-op was held at the start of the meeting, during which Ayalon told the photographers in Hebrew: "Pay attention that he is sitting in a lower chair and we are in the higher ones, that there is only an Israeli flag on the table and that we are not smiling."
On Thursday, Erdogan confirmed Turkey had received an official apology from Israel over what the Turkish ambassador termed "humiliating" treatment by Ayalon, saying that it was "the expected and desired response."
Erdogan added more criticism of Israel, telling a news conference: "Israel must put itself in order and it must be more just and more on the side of peace in the region.