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No apology on flotilla deaths coming – Israel

Israel has once more said it will not be offering an apology to Turkey for the deaths of nine of its citizens on a Gaza-bound aid ship last year.

Pro-Palestinian activists cheer as the Mavi Marmara ship returns to Turkey last December. The boat was the scene of a bloody raid on 31 May, 2010, by Israeli marines who were ordered to stop the vessel from reaching Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian activists cheer as the Mavi Marmara ship returns to Turkey last December. The boat was the scene of a bloody raid on 31 May, 2010, by Israeli marines who were ordered to stop the vessel from reaching Gaza.

THE DIPLOMATIC DEADLOCK between Turkey and Israel is set to continue with Israel once more making it clear that it will not apologise for killing nine of Turkey’s citizens on a Gaza-bound aid ship last year.

According to Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that it is sticking to its refusal to apologise.

“We’re firm on not apologising,” an Israeli official said before making details of the phone call between the pair public.

The US refused to comment on the telephone conversation between Clinton and Netanyahu but a spokeswoman for the State Department called reports that the Secretary of State asked the Israeli leader to apologise “inaccurate”.

The announcement comes just days ahead of the publication of the findings of a United Nations inquiry into the events on the Mavi Marmara boat last year.

The so-called Palmer Report is due to be released on 20 August.

On 31 May, 2010, Israeli commandos sent to stop a flotilla of protest ships from reaching Gaza clashed with pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish vessel. Both sides claim they were acting in self-defence.

Ties between the two countries have deteriorated dramatically since the raid, which saw nine Turkish activists lose their lives. Turkey has said it will only reconcile with Israel if it receives an apology and compensation for the victims’ families.

“It is out of the question to step back from our determination on this issue,” said Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 2 TV today that the decision to refuse to apologise sends a strong message to Turkey. “It is a just and wise position,” he said. “A message of weakness is dangerous to Israel at this time.”

Israel also claims that the Palmer Report will support its position with officials, citing advance copies.

-Additional reporting by AP

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