Nine people were killed onboard the Gaza-bound Turkish ship after IDF troops who raided it encountered violent resistance by “peace activists” armed with an assortment of weapons. The “peace activists” threw stun grenades and beat the Israeli soldiers with pipes and chains.
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.
Erdogan called the operation an act of piracy. And even though Washington and other Western powers agree with Israel that the Gaza blockade is legal and legitimate, the Obama Administration has decided that it is more politically expedient to simply have Israel meet Erdogan’s unreasonable demands (as if that won’t have any long-term negative consequences).
Nearly two-thirds of Israelis were upset with Obama’s response to the Gaza terror flotilla.
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.
Asked if Israel might change tack after the Palmer report’s publication, the official said: “Why would we do that? We know the report supports our position.”
The Turkish embassy had no immediate comment.