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Israeli FM still defiant on apology, points to US as example

Israel Materials 6 June 2012 00:34 (UTC +04:00)
In yet another Israeli refusal to apologize for the deaths of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship two years ago, the country’s foreign minister has said Israel does not have to apologize for the deaths as the US also refused to offer an apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers late last year.
Israeli FM still defiant on apology, points to US as example

In yet another Israeli refusal to apologize for the deaths of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship two years ago, the country's foreign minister has said Israel does not have to apologize for the deaths as the US also refused to offer an apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers late last year, Today's Zaman reported.

The Jerusalem Post on Monday quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as saying if the US adamantly refuses to apologize to Pakistan for the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, Israel certainly need not apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara deaths. "The Pakistanis asked the US to apologize, and the Americans said no way," Lieberman reportedly said, referring to an incident in November of last year when US soldiers accidentally fired on two Pakistani border posts, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"So when they come to us and pressure us to apologize over the Marmara, because of this or that constraint, sometimes even to best friends you must say no. Otherwise, no one will respect you," Lieberman continued.

Lieberman also said there is no change in his position on the Mavi Marmara incident. "We were right, and you don't apologize over something right, regardless of the pressure," he said.

Lieberman once again reiterated an Israeli claim that soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara and clashed with those on the ship were clearly exercising their right to self-defense. His remarks came on the same day as a Turkish court announced that it will convene on Nov. 6 of this year to hear a trial in which four top Israeli commanders are charged for their role in the 2010 Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead.

An indictment prepared by an İstanbul prosecutor seeks 10 aggravated life sentences for each of the four Israeli commanders, including the country's former chief of General Staff, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish-American were killed when the Israeli navy attacked an international aid flotilla trying to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza in May 2010.

Ankara wants an official apology from Israel for the raid and calls for the lifting of the Gaza blockade, but both demands have thus far been rejected by the Israeli government. With the increased tensions, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended all military agreements it had with the country.

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