Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday, over Netanyahu’s apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Earlier, Netanyahu spoke on the phone with his Turkish counterpart and apologized for the deaths of nine Turks in a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
In response, Lieberman said in a statement, “Anyone who saw the photos taken on the Mavi Marmara understands beyond any doubt that IDF soldiers acted in self-defense against the activists of the IHH organization, which is recognized as a terrorist organization in Europe.
"Such an apology harms IDF soldiers' motivation and their willingness to go out on future missions, and strengthens the radical elements in the region,” said the former Foreign Minister.
"Worse still is the fact that the apology also affects Israel’s uncompromising struggle for righteousness, morality and for the morality of its soldiers," Lieberman said, adding that he appreciates the good relations that existed for many years between the Jewish people and the Turkish people, but the current leadership in Turkey under Erdogan is solely responsible for the deterioration of relations between the two countries.
“Erdogan’s tirades against Israel whenever possible, starting with the attack on President Peres in 2009 at the Davos conference and until his statement a few weeks ago that Zionism is racism and a crime against humanity, along with his refusal to apologize for this statement, violate the dignity and status of Israel in the region and the entire world,” concluded Lieberman.
Unlike Lieberman, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni welcomed the news of Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey.
"This is a very important and correct step, and I told this to the Prime Minister,” she said. “At this time, especially with what is happening in Syria, there are common security interests to Israel, Turkey and the United States. It’s an excellent final note to Obama's visit."
Meanwhile, IDF spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai emphasized that the apology to Turkey “was coordinated with and had the consent and the blessing of Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, in light of the protection of the IDF from the legal aspects and given the importance of the strategic security relations with Turkey.”
(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.)