Israel To Apologize For “Mistakes” During Flotilla Attack
Thursday July 28, 2011 15:32 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli Ministerial Cabinet discussed on Wednesday the current crisis with Turkey that resulted after Israel attacked the Turkish solidarity Ship of the Freedom Flotilla last year, killing nine Turkish activists, and decided to apologize for what was described as “mistakes that took place during the attack,” but will not apologize for the attack itself.
The Israeli Radio reported on Wednesday evening that the council discussed a proposal calling on the government to apologize for mistakes that took place when the Israeli army attacked the MV Marmara Turkish ship of the Freedom Flotilla.
The Radio added that the proposal aims at restoring the Israeli-Turkish ties, and also aims at achieving an agreement with Turkey on preventing the Palmer Commission of the UN from publishing its report on the Flotilla attack.
The Palmer Commission was supposed to publish its report on Wednesday; the commission claimed that the Israeli attack on the Flotilla was “a legal measure”, yet Israel does not want the report published as it was said to criticize the conducts of the soldiers who participated in the attack, an issue that could lead to lawsuits against them.
A senior Israeli military official told the Israeli Radio that Israel will be willing to pay compensation to the families of the victims through a special fund, but will not accept to pay compensation directly to the families.
The official also stated that Israel will not accept any calls for lifting the illegal siege on the Gaza Strip.
It is worth mentioning that Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister, Moshe Yaalon, oppose any apology to Turkey, but also said that they realize the importance of the relations between the two countries.
The Israeli Ministerial Council for Social and Economic Affairs is expected to discuss the issue in the coming days due to the fact that part of an Israeli-Turkish security agreement calls granting visas to 350 Turkish workers of the Yilmazlar Turkish Construction Firm that has been operating in Israel for 17 years, the Arabs48 news website reported.
Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is calling for revoking all work permits for the 800 Turkish workers of Yilmazlar.
The work permits for Yilmazlar employees are extended once a year, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry is opposing extending the permits due to the crises between the two countries.
The Ministry claims that owners of Yilmazlar Firm formed a new branch that is hostile to towards Israel, and opposes the government of Receb Erdogan in Turkey.
The Israeli Ministry of Trade, Labor and Industry also opposes extending the work permits despite the fact that most of the workers have been living in Israel for more than five years.
But according to Israeli daily, Haaretz, officials in Tel Aviv stated that the issue was discussed during a meeting of the Economy and Social ministerial cabinet committees after Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, agreed on extending the work permits.