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MIDEAST > Israeli PM ‘rejects’ Barak’s offer to apologize for Mavi Marmara

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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) address the media at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2012. AFP photo

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) address the media at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2012. AFP photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly rejected a proposal from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to offer his Turkish counterpart an apology for “operational mishaps” for the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid.

Barak had suggested utilizing the post-election transition period to repair relations with Turkey and reportedly told Netanyahu that it would be easier to overcome the political sensitivities during the transition period, Israeli daily Haaretz reported, citing an Israeli Foreign Ministry source.

The ministry, however, said the prime minister rejected the idea.

Barak had told Netanyahu that since he was leaving political life anyway, he would issue the apology himself, according to the daily.

“He told Netanyahu he was prepared to absorb any resulting criticism,” the source said. Israeli forces killed nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla on May 31, 2010. Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Israel issue an apology, pay compensation for the deaths and lift the embargo on Gaza to restore ties.

Barak also cited the advantages of having the defense minister apologize to his counterpart and characterizing the events as a military mishap so there would be no need for Israel’s president or prime minister to apologize, the report said.

February/24/2013

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