Israeli FM states US drone condition for raid apology
Israel will apologize from Turkey if US to do so for raids in Pakistan, says Lieberman. AP photo
Israel does not have to apologize for the killing of nine Turkish activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 unless the United States apologizes for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a drone strike last November, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said during a recent speech.
“The Pakistanis asked the U.S. to apologize, and the Americans said, ‘No way.’ So when [the U.S.] comes to us and pressures us to apologize over the Mavi Marmara, because of this or that constraint, sometimes even to best friends you must say, ‘No,’” Lieberman was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post. “Otherwise, no one will respect you,” he added.
The Israeli minister said his country’s stance on the Mavi Marmara had not changed and defined the Israeli use of force as “a legitimate right for self-defense.” “We were right,” Lieberman said.
“And you don’t apologize over something right, regardless of the pressure.” A NATO cross-border air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov. 26, 2011 and strained the ties between two countries. Pakistan demanded a formal apology for the killings and responded by ordering U.S. forces out of a Pakistani airbase and shutting down NATO supply lines to landlocked Afghanistan.
However, a U.S. investigation found that U.S. forces, given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon.
Turkish court formally pressed charges against members of Israel’s military last month for the killing of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara. The first hearing of the trial will be held on November 6. Prosecutors are demanding multiple life sentences for the four, who include Israel’s former Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
Ankara demanded a formal apology from Israel for the killings and that Israel lifted the Gaza blockade. The raid also triggered a crisis between Israel and Turkey and resulted in a dramatic downgrade in diplomatic relations and the expelling of the Israeli ambassador from Turkey.