Israel has made a final decision not to apologize to Turkey for the killing of nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara, security sources have told IsraelDefense.com.
The sources said that Israel will inform Turkey that it has decide not to apologize, despite Turkish threats to downgrade its representation in Israel from the rank of ambassador to a second secretary.
Israel's leadership and security establishment have been debating the possibility of apologizing for months. Turkey gave its backing to the 2010 Gaza flotilla that included the Mavi Marmara – where dozens of terrorists awaited Israeli commandos and attacked them with great brutality. After some of the soldiers were stabbed, savagely beaten and thrown off the ship's deck, the commandos had no choice but to open fire, killing nine of their assailants.
Turkey wanted an apology, compensation to the families of Turkish citizens who were killed and an Israeli commitment to allow goods through into Gaza. The UN is about to publish a report on the flotilla events, in which responsibility for the outcome is placed on both Turkey and Israel.
Some reports said that Defense Minister Ehud Barak
was in favor of apologizing to Turkey, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was adamantly opposed to this. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted as opposing an apology
, but also, on occasion, as mulling it
. It now appears that Lieberman's position is the final Israeli position. However, should Turkey request a postponement of the publication of the UN report in order to end the controversy by reaching an agreement with Israel – Israel will not oppose this.