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      Israel Unfazed by Turkey’s Moves: We Will Not Apologize

      Despite Turkey's downgrade of relations, Israel reiterates: We won't apologize for defending ourselves.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 9/2/2011, 8:53 PM

      Despite Turkey’s downgrade of its ties with Israel, Jerusalem remained unfazed on Friday, with officials once again clarifying that Israel has no intention of apologizing for the Mavi Marmara incident.

      Referring to the publication of the Palmer Report on the events of the 2010 IHH flotilla, Israeli officials said that while Israel regrets the loss of lives on the Marmara, it will not apologize for defending itself.

      “Israel, just like any other country, has the legitimate right to defend its citizens and soldiers,” the officials said. “Israel recognizes the importance of the historical ties, past and present, between the Turkish people and the Jewish people, and in light of this fact has made many attempts in the last few months to settle the dispute between the two countries. Regretfully these attempts have been unsuccessful.”

      Regarding Turkey’s decision to expel the Israeli ambassador, the officials said that Ambassador Gabby Levy finished his term several days ago and was about to return to Israel in any case.

      Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country was reducing its diplomatic presence in Israel and suspending military agreements until the Jewish state issued a “full apology” for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals during the IDF’s boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara in 2010.

      Davutoglu said some of the Palmer Report’s findings - which did not endorse Turkey's increasingly strident demands - were unacceptable.

      The report concluded Israel faces “a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

      At the same time, the 105-page report concluded “Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable.”

      It did not take into account that IDF commandos who boarded the ship were armed with less-than-lethal pneumatic guns or that live fire was only employed when those proved insufficient to stop the threat to life and limb the organized lynch mob they encountered presented.

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)