Netanyahu to Clinton: Israel Won't Apologize to Turkey for Gaza Flotilla Raid

PM Netanyahu informs U.S. Secretary of State Clinton that Israel will not accept an outline for restoring relationship with Turkey.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Israel will not apologize for the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists died.

Speaking with Clinton via telephone on Tuesday, Netanayhu said that Israel does not intend to adopt an outline to restore its relationship with Turkey.

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An official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu told Clinton that Israel does not oppose the publication of the report of the Palmer Committee, which investigated the events surrounding the flotilla, but that the date of the report's release depends on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The official added that the head of the UN investigatory committee, former New Zealand prime minister Jeffrey Palmer, will present the report to Ban Ki-moon next Monday and that the UN chief will release the report to the public the following day.

On Tuesday, deputy prime minister Moshe Ya'alon referred to the possibility of an Israeli apology while speaking at a Likud founders conference.

"God forbid we apologize," Ya'alon said. "National pride is not just something people say on the street but it has strategic significance. If Erdogan goes around afterwards and says that he brought us to our knees, he will appear as a regional leader in the Middle East. He won't leave it alone, even after we apologize."

Ya'alon noted that the Palmer Committee had completed its work and had ruled in favor of Israel in regards to the legality of the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"The Turks are not ready to accept this," Ya'alon said. "But the relationship had deteriorated even before [the flotilla raid]. This is their policy, this is what they wanted, shame on them. So I said the Palmer Report needs to be published and I hope it will be published. Afterwards, we will meet [with the Turks]."

Netanyahu and Erdogan - Reuters