(Israel Today) — Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, reported on Wednesday that the Obama Administration is threatening Israel to either apologize to Turkey over its bloody interception of a Gaza aid flotilla last year, or risk strained ties with Washington.
Israeli diplomats in Washington told the newspaper that they had received a communique from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisting that the rift between Israel and Turkey was harming American interests in the region, such as affecting regime change in neighboring Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demands that Israel publicly apologize for intercepting a May 2010 “humanitarian aid” flotilla that tried to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The flotilla had set sail from Turkey, and nine Turkish nationals were killed when they and others aboard the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, attacked the Israeli boarding party. . . .
What’s worse, the Obama Administration’s pressure on Israel — the party it agrees is in the right — has also reportedly come in the form of a threat.
According to the Israeli diplomats cited in the Yediot report, they were told that if Israel does not comply with Clinton’s request to apologize to Turkey, the White House may suddenly find itself unable to continue building opposition to a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood at the UN next month.
“God forbid we apologize,” declared Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a conference of Likud activists on Tuesday.
Update: I love a happy ending.
(JPost) — Israel will stick to its refusal to apologize to Turkey for killing nine of its citizens aboard a Gaza-bound ship, an official said on Wednesday, dampening any prospects for reconciliation between the former allies.
The decision, which the official said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conveyed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a telephone call, was made days before the publication of the findings of a UN inquiry into the seizure of the Mavi Marmara last year.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a centrist in Netanyahu’s conservative coalition government, has since stirred debate inside the cabinet by proposing Israel offer a diluted apology in hope of restoring ties with what was once a rare Muslim ally of the Jewish state.
“We’re firm on not apologizing,” the official said.
HT on Update: JJ