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UN Confirms Delay of Palmer Report

UN officially confirms reports of another delay in Palmer Report; it is now expected in late August.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/26/2011, 1:39 AM / Last Update: 7/26/2011, 3:13 AM

The United Nations officially confirmed on Monday that the release of the Palmer Report on the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident last year would be postponed until late August, Reuters reported.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, who confirmed the delay, gave no specific date for when the report would be released.

Israeli officials said on Sunday the report was now expected on August 20, but when asked about this statement by reporters, Nesirky would simply say that “The members of the flotilla panel agreed to delay finalizing the report until later in the month of August.” He provided no reason for the delay.

This is not the first time that the publication of the report has been delayed. It was previously expected to be published on July 7, but it was announced last month that a disagreement between Israel and Turkey in talks had delayed the publication indefinitely.

The impasse reportedly centers on Turkish concerns over clauses in the report accusing Ankara of having ties with the IHH as well as direct involvement in the flotilla.

Ankara also continues to demand Israel apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals who were killed when they tried to lynch soldiers in Israel’s naval commando who boarded their vessel in accordance with international maritime law.

There have also been conflicting reports regarding the content of the Palmer Report. While it was previously reported that the report will say that Israel’s naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is indeed legal and that Israel “acted early and with too much force” in trying to sop the flotilla, a newspaper article in Turkey on Sunday claimed the report will blame Israel for the deaths of the nine nationalists.

Meanwhile, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to make it difficult for Israel and Turkey to resolve the ongoing conflict between them, and according to a report on Monday, is considering downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel.

On Sunday, Erdogan said that he still expects a full apology from Jerusalem. “We will wait for the Israelis’ decision a certain period,” he was quoted as saying. “If they don’t apologize by this time we shall move to plan b.”

That “Plan B,” according to the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper, is to downgrade the level of Turkey’s diplomatic staff in Israel.