UN Delays Palmer Report Again
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has postponed the Palmer report a third time as Israel and Turkey dig in over Marmara deaths.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/22/2011, 6:16 PM
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon postponed for the third time the release of the UN-commissioned Palmer report on the Mavi Marmara incident during the first Gaza flotilla in May 2010.
During the incident. 9 Turkish nationals were killed by the IDF when a lynch mob in which the Turks took part tried to murder members of Israel's Shayatet-13, or naval commandos, who boarded the ship legally, in accordance with international law.
According to Turkish sources, a UN spokesperson said the publication of the report - slated for Tuesday - has been delayed at the behest of Israel.
Meanwhile, Turkey continues to fume over Israel's refusal to issue an apology for the death of nine activists on board the Mavi Marmara vessel.
According to Turkish media reports, Ankara sent Jerusalem a stern message via US diplomats, threatening to severe ties between the two states.
Turkey's Hurriyet daily newspaper reported Monday that Ankara had made it clear to friends in Washington that if Jerusalem does not reverse its stance vis-a-vis an apology or compensation to the victims' families, "It would only naturally lead to a further deterioration in bilateral ties."
The report claimed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been mulling a "Plan B" against Israel, in case it refuses to apologize.
Among the options being considered are downgrading the status of Israel's diplomatic presence in Turkey and vice versa, or even suspending all political and economic ties with the Jewish State.
Hurriyet also claimed Erdogan may consider visiting Gaza and recognizing a PA state at the UN General Assembly next month to demonstrate his pique.
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak previously said Israel will only express 'regret' for the deaths, but will not apologize. Early drafts of the report obtained by the press, while critical of Israeli tactics leading to the deaths, concluded Israel's blockade of Gaza is legal under international law - as was the boarding operation itself.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formally announced that Jerusalem will not apologize to Ankara, despite mounting pressure from the United States. Hours after the announcement, Erdogan slammed the decision, insisting Israel apologize and pay 'reparations' for the deaths of the nine activists in order to restore relations between the former allies.
In a press conference in Istanbul, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "If the Palmer Report does not include apologies, both sides and the United States know what we will be forced to do. Israel faces one choice – deeper relations with Turkey, or a deeper gulf, which cannot be bridged easily."
Ban Ki-moon has already postponed the release of the Palmer Report twice at the behest of Jerusalem and Ankara in hopes the two nations' differences could be solved.