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March 27, 2013 8:49 pm

Bennett: “Erdogan is Doing Everything in His Power to Make Israel Regret Its Apology”

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Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photo: wiki commons.

Some Israeli leaders are criticizing Israel’s recent apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the 2010 Gaza flotilla in light of Erdoğan’s statements since the apology was made public.

Erdoğan, clarifying initial reports that Turkey-Israel ties had been normalized following his conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that those ties would not be fully restored until Israel both provides financial compensation for the nine Turkish citizens who died in the Mavi Marmara altercation and ends its blockade on Gaza. The Turks who died in the flotilla incident had attacked Israeli soldiers on board.

Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) on Wednesday wrote on Facebook that Erdoğan “is doing everything he can to make Israel regret” the apology.

“Let there be no doubt—no nation is doing Israel a favor by renewing ties with it. It should also be clear to Erdoğan that if Israel encounters in the future any terrorism directed against us, our response will be no less severe,” Bennett wrote.

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Bennett, expressing his support for Israeli soldiers, wrote that they “always do everything, and I mean everything, to protect the lives of Israeli citizens.”

“This is your job. We’ll deal with the rest. The people of Israel stand behind you, we are always with you,” he wrote.

Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, according to Israel Hayom, said Wednesday that the apology to Turkey was a mistake because, “The more you give them the feeling that they are on the side of justice, the higher their level of violence rises.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leinter, director of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center civil rights organization, called the apology “pathetic pandering to an Islamic extremist who compared Zionism to fascism and is still trying to indict Israeli officers for war crimes.”

“The United Nations has investigated the Israeli blockade of Gaza and has determined that it is in full compliance with international law,” Darshan-Leinter said in a statement. “The flotilla, which was provided material support by the Turkish government, was a provocation designed to endanger the lives of Israeli sailors.”

The apology, meanwhile, drew praise from several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. On Wednesday, Merkel called the apology a “correct and brave step” by Israel.


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