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Ayalon: No Humiliation in Apology

Former Dep. Foreign Minister says Turkey is the one who backed down in accepting phone apology.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/23/2013, 7:27 PM

Danny Ayalon
Danny Ayalon
Israel news photo

Former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon attacked his former boss, MK Avigdor Lieberman, for Lieberman's criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's apology toTurkey over the Mavi Marmara incident. Ayalon told Voice of Israel public radio Saturday that two years ago, Israel offered an identical formula for solving the crisis over the Mavi Marmara incident, but Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan had refused to be content with an apology delivered over the telephone.

Ayalon estimated that Erdogan decided to become more flexible because of the mistake he made last month, when he called Zionism "a crime against humanity" and received sharp international criticism.

Ayalon assessed, however, that relations between Israel and Turkey would not return to the way they were in the 1990s.

Ayalon attacked his former boss at Yisrael Beytenu and at the Foreign Ministry, MK Avigdor Lieberman, over Lieberman's statement that the apology was a grave mistake and a humiliation. "The attempt to sharpen differences and run relations aground again is wrong, diplomatically and politically," he said.

"I am certain that Prime Minister Netanyahu received full backing from Chief of Staff Gantz, and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon," Ayalon said, adding that he believes Lieberman is becoming "politically irrelevant."

Lieberman's opposition to the apology shows "pettiness," he added.