Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm

In the past few weeks, the tumult of Israeli hasbara and magical thinking predicting the outcome of the delayed, dubious Palmer report into Israel’s attack of the MV Mavi Marmara and murder of 9 humanitarians on board, has been comically profuse.

Spokesman for the UN, Martin Nesirky on Tuesday said “the Secretary-General made clear that more time was needed; and when we get to that point we’ll let you know”.

In the UN notes of the press briefing by by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, the precise wording is this:

Question: Yes, it’s a follow-up to my earlier question. In the same BBC article there was — I am paraphrasing — but the article said that one of the reasons for more time being given for the report was that there were really frenetic negotiations going on between Turkey and Israel, and that the language could be toned down. If you’ve sent the report, can you tell me, is, was the language particularly harsh? And in what way does it need to be toned down? Is it the language itself, or is it a semantic thing or linguistic thing?

Spokesperson: Well, I haven’t sent the report, is the short answer. But what I would say is what we said at the time; and that is that there is clearly a need for the parties concerned to find consensus on the report, and the wording of the report. And that’s why more time was given.

Compare Haaretz, wherein the contents of the Palmer report are assumed before release:

Palmer says [sic] that although international law permits the interception of ships outside territorial waters, Israel should have taken control of the flotilla when the ships were closer to the limit of the naval blockade – 20 miles off the coast. Israel responded by saying that its interception of the flotilla so far from the coast was due to military and tactical considerations, following the organizers’ refusal to stop.

Meanwhile, the efforts to mend relations between Israel and Turkey have reached a deadlock yet again, said a senior political source in Jerusalem on Wednesday. According to the source, talks between Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Turkish senior officials Wednesday in New York ended without conclusive results, and each side remains unrelenting in its stance.

“There is no agreement and no breakthrough on the horizon,” said the source. “Everything still depends on the (Turkish demand for an Israeli) apology. The report will be released soon and a compromise seems very unlikely.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Turkish negotiation team not to back down from the demand for an official apology. Ya’alon told Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu that Israel will not apologize, but is willing to express sorrow for the flotilla’s tragic results.

Over the past two weeks there have been three rounds of negotiations between Ya’alon and Sinirlioglu – two of them took place in Europe and one in New York. They all ended in deadlock.

And the assumptions of Ynetnews:

‘Turkey is concerned over some of the clauses in the delayed report, which accuse the state of having ties with the IHH as well as direct involvement in the flotilla.

In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed Wednesday that Ankara would continue to demand an apology and compensation for the nine casualties in the May 31 IDF flotilla raid.

Earlier Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe Israel should offer such an apology. “There are some things I’m willing to discuss and some things I’m not willing to discuss. I will not have an apology harm Israel’s national dignity and I will not see IDF soldiers humiliated,” he said.

But Turkey remains adamant. “We have been saying the same thing since last year. Israel owes an apology and compensation. This is our principled stance on this matter,” he said.’

With Todays Zaman:

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, however, reiterated Turkey’s position that apology is a must to reestablish relations with Israel. “Israel slaughtered nine Turks, one of whom was a US citizen, in international waters,” Davutoglu said, while speaking at a joint press conference following talks with Mahmoud Jebril, chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), the Anatolia news agency reported.

“We said the same thing since last year. Israel must apologize and pay compensation for this issue,” he added.

And with AFP:

A UN-sponsored report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault of a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks over a year ago, a Turkish source said Thursday.
….

Israel refused to sign the report after a commission of inquiry concluded that its forces had acted in an “excessive” manner by swooping on the Mavi Marmara a long way from the Gaza Strip and without giving a final warning to the vessel.

The source said Turkey’s refusal to sign off on the report stemmed from the fact that it did not say Israel’s blockade of Gaza was illegal. Over the past year, Ankara has repeatedly said it was demanding apologies and compensation from Israel for the victims’ families.

Key to any reconciliation is Turkey’s demand that Israel apologise for its actions.

But Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his opposition to such a step in remarks to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

“We have no interest in a confrontation with Turkey and we are in favour of renewing our relations with Turkey; we have no territorial dispute with Turkey and we are ready to reach a compromise,” he said.

“We are not prepared to be dictated to and we are not prepared to be humiliated or to abandon our troops.

“An apology is not a compromise — in my view, it is humiliation and abandonment of our soldiers,” he continued.

Regardless of whether the tainted Palmer inquiry appointed at the request of Ban Ki Moon says so or not, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal as the Turkish source above says.

At the end of May 2011, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised

Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments on Friday to discourage activists from launching a second Gaza flotilla, but Ahmet Davutoglu said democratic governments had no right to stop their people from challenging an illegal blockade.

In a flagrant piratical foray in May 2010, Israel murdered 9 humanitarians in international waters although the MV Mavi Marmara and other flotilla boats were sailing away from Gaza at the time.

Since then, Turkey has “cancelled dozens of military agreements, war games and military projects with Israel” and cancelled a project to sell Israel water.

Given Ankara’s adamant stance and actions to date, it’s unlikely that Erdogan will relent. Israel needs Turkey far more than Turkey needs Israel – a major destination for Israeli exports, democratic Turkey is a vibrant, growing economy led by mature, diligent politicians with an ability to conciliate on Israel’s behalf. Turkey does need however the approval of the balance of the region where it is arranging trade ties and mediating conflicts, not to be confused with ‘neo-Ottomanism’, of which some naive western orientalists accuse it.

MORE UPDATES

See later post “Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant”

UPDATE 29/8/11

Haaretz [Barak Ravid] is at it again, inferring Turkish government intent and actions without sources, this time imagining an already drawn up reconciliation agreement.

‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested a few days ago that the Palmer Report on the Israel Defense Forces’ raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed, be delayed by six months.

The suggestion was made to the Turkish government and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but Haaretz has learned that the Turkish government rejected Netanyahu’s proposal, claiming it was not serious.

An outline of the reconciliation agreement has already been approved by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and includes a softened Israeli apology for the events that occurred onboard the ship, in return for normalized relations with Turkey and a commitment on Turkey’s behalf not to take legal proceedings personally against the Israeli soldiers and officers involved.

Then at the bottom of the story, there’s an inkling of reality:

An official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu told Clinton that Israel does not oppose the publication of the Palmer Committee’s report, but that the date of the report’s release depends on Ban Ki-moon.’

Note also that Haaretz again omits the tripartite nature of Turkey’s demands, focusing on the apology.

JPost carries a Channel 2 story that Nutanyahoo is snivelling to the US to delay the report. It then blames Turkey for initial delays in releasing the report and speculates wildly that Turkey wants to bury the report.

Compare Today’s Zaman, which quotes AP:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday stated that he has been postponing the delivery of a UN panel report about Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ban said the purpose of the delay was to give the two governments more time to reach a “harmonious agreement” on its findings.

“It is important that these two countries improve their bilateral relationship,” Ban said, adding, “That is why I have given additional time.”

Earlier last week, diplomats at the UN headquarters told the Anatolia news agency that the report could be presented to Ban by Sept. 2.

The UN assessment, titled the “Palmer Report,” is expected to clarify what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship, which set sail from Turkey last May but was aggressively stopped by Israeli commandoes, resulting in the deaths of nine peace activists aboard the ship. In the process of warming up relations between Israel and Turkey, the Palmer Report has faced multiple delays since its initial date of release in February of this year to allow the countries to reconcile. However, while Turkey considers a formal apology and compensation for the loss of life on the boat necessary conditions for reconciliation, Israel defends the killings as self defense and pleas that the charity campaign was an attempt to intimidate Israel triggered by the Turkish government, which vehemently denies involvement in the process.

AP omits the third demand of the Turkish government – the end of Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza.

The Journal of the Turkish Weekly quotes the TFM:

The report will be made public after Ban makes an assessment on it. The report will also assume an important role in Turkey’s stance regarding Israel.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that UN had postponed the release of its report on the flotilla attack upon Israel’s demand.

UPDATE 22/8/11

Triangulating again.

Yet again Haaretz is parroting the Israeli government line that Turkey asked for an extension for release of the Palmer report, while AFP via Maan reports Israel asked for one, just like all the other times!

Todays Zaman exposes Haaretz’s peculiar version and quotes the Turkish officials direct.

The release of the report was postponed and the request for the delay came from Israel, as in past postponements, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said.

The Israeli side, on the other hand, has presented a different account, saying Turkey requested the postponement. On Sunday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying Turkey asked for the postponement. The US government has expressed its support for the Turkish request to delay the report, and Israel has not opposed the move and the decision lies with the UN chief, Haaretz had said.

Hurriyet reports from an Op Ed that ‘Among the steps Turkey is considering to take if Israel rejects apologizing and paying compensation are downgrading diplomatic representation to the level of second secretary, suspending all political and economic relations.’ but no direct quote from Erdogan or Davugotlu.

Israeli rag, Globes quotes rightwing Hurriyet and Richard Silverstein picks up on the underlying meme.

On the 21st, Todays Zaman reported direct information from Erdogan and Davugotlu:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on July 23 that Turkey now intends to move on to “Plan B,” which will include a campaign against Israel to be carried out at UN institutions, legal action against senior Israeli figures in European courts, and military cooperation between Turkey and Israel being put on hold.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel yesterday while on a trip to South Africa that relations between Turkey and Israel would only worsen if an apology was not forthcoming following the release of the Palmer report. He declared, “Relations will not remain as they are now. They will deteriorate even more, as the current situation cannot be sustained.”

UPDATE 11/8/11

Israel trying to bribe Turkey into waiving apology for Mavi Marmara killings (Heb)

Instead of an apology: Israel and Turkey offered to double the compensation
The new proposal was transferred to an informal channel, trying to bring Turkey to give up its demand for an apology from the flotilla to Gaza last year and U.S. pressure to reach an agreement. According to the initiative, Israel will pay 100 thousand dollars for each of the families of those killed and will express “deep sorrow”. Turkish response has been received

No decision on Turkey’s apology condition by Israeli ministers
Turkey condemns Israel’s decision to steal more Palestinian land for Jews-only housing
Turkey absent again from naval drills with Israel, US
Israel,Turkey Brace For UN Flotilla Report
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ya’alon lies:

“Turkish PM Erdogan desires nothing else but to humiliate Israel. It will bring him political dividends among his Islamic voters,” Ya’alon stated. “Erdogan does not guarantee that once Israel apologizes, relations between Israel and Turkey will be fully resumed. Turkey promises only to return the Turkish Ambassador to Israel. We can deal without him as well. Besides, it will be even worse if Israel apologizes.”

Israeli deputy PM: Turkey’s demand for apology rude

UPDATES 8

Today’s Zaman is quick off the mark with two stories on yet another delay in release of the Palmer Report! at Israel’s request.

The United Nations on Monday confirmed that the release of a UN report on a deadly Israeli raid that killed nine Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year would be postponed until late August.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which Israeli officials said on Sunday was now expected on Aug. 20, a Saturday.

Is there a nuanced counterthreat to Turkey in Ayalon’s gestures to his Armenian counterpart, reported in JPost?:

‘Ayalon emphasized Israel and the Jewish people’s sensitivity to the “Armenian tragedy,” a reference to the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks. The deputy foreign minister also stressed the importance Israel attributed to a continuation of developing ties and cooperation with Armenia.’

UPDATES 7

As should be crystal clear by now, Haaretz is unreliable on this issue. Today, it quotes Hurriyet saying:

The Turkish government has formulated a back-up plan that it has threatened to execute should Israel continue to refuse to apologize for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

This plan includes further downgrading relations with Israel which are already on shaky grounds …

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the plan on Saturday at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Marouf Bakhit. The Turkish newspaper reported that one of the steps Turkey would take if Israel does not issue and apology is downgrade its diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv.

Ynet regurgitates Hurriyet, which is the mouthpiece of the Turkish rightwing, also.

Hurriyet reports, quoting mysterious sources on the content of Plan B:

“We are going to wait for their [Israel’s] decision for a period of time. Then [if no apology comes], we will surely implement our Plan B,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told reporters Saturday at a joint press conference with Jordanian Prime Minister Maroof al-Bakhit.

According to information obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News, the “Plan B” mentioned by Erdo?an will have a strong impact on further degrading relations between the two countries. One of the most important moves would be further reducing Turkey’s level of diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv. After the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey canceled the appointment of Kerim Uras as ambassador to Tel Aviv in a show of reaction. If Israel refuses to apologize, the current level of diplomatic representation, charge d’affairs, would be reduced to the level of second secretary.

Diplomatic sources told the Daily News on Sunday, however, that the government in Ankara was still hopeful about seeing an Israeli apology and that in order not to give a wrong message, Uras’ appointment to a post other than Israel had once again been postponed. Uras was excluded from the Foreign Ministry’s summer reshuffle, signaling that he would still be appointed to Tel Aviv if relations normalized.

Reducing Turkey’s diplomatic representation would also affect Israel’s plans to appoint an ambassador to Ankara in the upcoming months if current envoy Gabby Levy’s plans to return his country can be carried out. Israel fears its new envoy would not be able to get a credential from Ankara if relations remain frozen.

Trip to Gaza

Erdogan had previously announced plans to visit Gaza but said this trip had nothing to do with the current crisis with Israel. The Daily News has learned, however, that this was part of the government’s Plan B.

“We are not aiming to create an environment of tension. Our friends [in the Foreign Ministry] are going to be working on it and this trip [to Gaza] will be realized if these works reveal a positive development,” Erdo?an told reporters. “It would be wrong to consider this linked to apology, compensation or lifting [of the Gaza] blockade.”

Todays Zaman reported on Erdogan’s meeting with Bakhit but did not mention this Plan B, noting merely discussions on ‘developments in Palestine and its bid for United Nations membership’.

TZ fields a Reuters story on Lieberman, noting

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he would not quit the coalition government if it decides to apologise to Turkey for killing 9 Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year.

On Saturday, TZ relates how Erdogan spoke at a meeting where Abbas was also present:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said, while repeating his intention to visit to Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to Turkey’s demand from Israel of an apology for the nine Turks killed when Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Speaking just days before the submission of a UN report on the raid in May last year, Erdogan said Turkey would never forget the nine men and condemned the continuing blockade of Gaza as “illegal and inhuman.”

“Unless Israel officially apologizes for its unlawful action which is against international laws and humanitarian values, pays compensation for the families of those who lost their lives and lifts its embargo on Gaza, normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable,” he said.

UPDATES 6

In AFP, Israel’s childish tantrums and refusal to take responsibility for its actions continue as Erdogan remains adamant. Israel does make concrete mention of hush money though:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday it was “unthinkable” for Ankara to normalise relations with Israel until it apologised over its bloody raid on a Turkish ship heading for Gaza.

“As long as Israel does not apologise to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockage on the Gaza strip, a normalisation of relations is unthinkable,” he said at the opening of a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors here in the presence of president Mahmud Abbas.


On Thursday Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon insisted that Israel would not “take responsibility” for the deaths.

“We are not ready to apologise, as apologising is taking responsibility,” he told reporters in Jerusalem.

“We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund,” he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed or injured.

“A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation… means that you are responsible,” he said.

Reuters pads out the story with the usual Israeli “point of view” as if the facts of Israel’s murders are in doubt, but adds Erdogan’s upping of the ante:

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said.

He also repeated his intention to visit Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to the apology issue.

JPost doesn’t mention the upping of the ante to East Jerusalem, rather focuses on Lieberman’s tantrum and Abbas’s position on declaring a state.

The Arab American News relates about Erdogan’s forthcoming Gaza visit, Lieberman’s tanty, no mention of East Jerusalem or Abbas.

A Hamas official in Gaza welcomed Erdogan’s intentions. “We welcome this visit by Mr. Erdogan, which will be historic if it goes ahead, as it shows Turkish support for the Palestinian cause and political and moral backing to break the political siege imposed on Gaza by Israel, Ismail Radwan told France Press Agency.

“This visit will encourage Arab and Muslim leaders to break the siege and visit the Gaza Strip,” he stressed.

Last month, Erdogan renewed a call on Israel to lift as soon as possible the inhumane and unlawful blockade of Gaza and allow the entry of goods, notably construction materials to rebuild infrastructure destroyed during the offensive attack ( in 2009).”

Haaretz mentions East Jerusalem, repeats Erdogan’s demands, Lieberman’s miffedness and regurgitates Weinstein’s worry about law suits if there was no apology – but no mention of money.

The Turkish prime minister said Turkey supports the Palestinian intention to seek UN recognition in September, and that the entire world should take action in order to remove the Gaza blockade. He added that Israel should accept the fact that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state. “Israel cannot stop the Palestinian people from creating a state,” he said.
On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for his inclination to agree to an Israeli apology to Turkey.

According to Jerusalem officials, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes the UN investigation into the 2010 flotilla incident might prompt lawsuits against IDF soldiers. Therefore, he recommended Netanyahu reaching an understanding with Turkey, even if that means issuing an apology.

The officials added that Weinstein believes that if Turkey promises not to file lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers that took part in the Marmara interception, Israel should consider apologizing for operational mistakes and misuse of force. The suggested apology would be a general one, and would not apply to stopping the flotilla or the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On the financial front, how would Turkey fare should Greece default – can the global loan sharks devalue Turkey’s currency if necessary to apply political pressure?

The flipside is that Greece could also derail the Turkish rebound. A Greek default could trigger a flight from investments seen as risky, depriving Turkey of the short-term funding it needs. That would undermine Erdogan’s claim to have ended a decades-old cycle of boom and bus

Today’s Zaman as usual is more informative than the rest put together, this time with several stories on the current events.

We discover in Senior Israeli ministers to render decision on Turkey’s apology conditions that Haaretz has lied about Turkey seeking ‘normalisation’:

The chief foreign policy adviser to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, meanwhile, denied a report that said his country aims to normalize relations with Israel “across the board,” saying an Israeli newspaper mischaracterized his comments on the topic.

“The bottom line is that Turkey’s position is the same, and no normalization will happen until and unless Turkey’s three conditions are met,” Ibrahim Kalin said in an e-mail sent to The Washington Times on Thursday. In order to normalize relations, Turkey wants Israel to apologize for the killings, compensate the activists’ families and lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Haaretz wrote Wednesday that “Turkey intends to normalize its relations with Israel across the board.” It also quoted Kalin as saying “from the return of the [Turkish] ambassador, the renewal of joint military maneuvers, military and civilian cooperation, ministerial visits, to all other areas, relations will return to the way they were before the flotilla incident.”

Calling the report false, Kalin said he has “asked for a correction.”

“The Haaretz piece has completely twisted what I said and put their words into my mouth,” he told The Times.

Former Israeli minister: Lieberman is Israel’s tragedy (Greek?)
Lieberman aghast about possible apology to Turkey
Lieberman objection hampered Israeli apology twice in past

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to offer an apology to Turkey over a deadly flotilla raid on May 31, 2010 to restore strained relations, but withdrew twice at the last moment from signing an agreement to that effect due to opposition from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to the Israeli media.

UPDATES 5

In Haaretz, Lieberman moans about apologies and seeming ‘weak’ (weakness is an anti-zionist trait)

Lieberman stressed that an apology to Turkey would be surrendering to Ankara.

“If we wanted to apologize, we would have done so right after the flotilla. Israel is showing weakness, embarrassment, and an inability to withstand pressure,” he said.

UPDATES 4

JPost gets the Turkish position on the Palmer report right:

‘The Turks are demanding an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation payments to the family of the victims, as well as a lifting of the Gaza blockade.’

Haaretz regurgitates Hurriyet:

It is believed that Erdogan is using a Gaza visit as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to accept an agreement that includes an apology for the killing of the flotilla activists.

The Hurriyet report cited diplomatic sources as saying that Erdogan had planned to enter Gaza at the Rafah Crossing on July 21 during a visit to Egypt.

On Tuesday, the Turkish representative on the UN commission investigating the flotilla told Haaretz that July 27 is the “last chance” to solve the crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Todays Zaman reports on Erdogan’s possible trip to Gaza:

“The definite time of our visit to Egypt has not been set yet, but we have a desire to visit Gaza after visiting Egypt,” Erdogan said on Tuesday in response to a question at a press conference before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) for an official visit.

Does Erdogan require Israel’s permission to visit Gaza? TZ says yes:

‘Yet, Israel’s consent is also needed for the visit as Gaza is under Israeli blockade, Safak wrote, citing again anonymous sources.’

The JPost says no:

“If he wants to go to Gaza, let him go,” one official said, who requested anonymity, adding that a trip there through Rafah does not need to be coordinated with Israel, and that a number of international diplomats and leaders – including EU Foreign- Policy Chief Catherine Ashton – have already made the trip.

Haaretz reports Turkey’s three conditions but spins the headling to amplify the Turkish carrot ‘Turkey set on fully mending ties with Israel, says Erdogan’s aide’:

Kalin emphasized that normalization between Israel and Turkey will not happen unless Turkey’s three conditions are met: an apology, compensation and the end of the Gaza blockade. He stressed that Turkey’s position on these conditions have not changed.

UPDATES 3

The zionist regime lies again about Turkish demands in regard to the May 2010 flotilla. (At the end of May, 2011, and reported in Jpost, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised ‘Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year’.)

In Haaretz, Barak Ravid, who foamed about Arab states not issuing visas to Israeli journalists at the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held in Budapest recently by the United Nations Department of Public Information also dissembles : U.S. scrambling to prevent Israel-Turkey ties from worsening

The Turkish president’s reaction was not different from the standard Turkish position on the matter to date. “If Israel apologizes for the killing of Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara and pays compensation, we will welcome this,” Gul said.

In contrast to the Israeli sources, Today’s Zaman is straightforward, confirming the evidence of Israel’s lies above, particularly the minimisation of the fact that Turkey is firm about illegality of the blockade. Clearly, Israel and its journalists are putting words in Turkey’s mouth by ommission:

The UN panel’s report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault on the Mavi Marmara last May, an AFP report stated on July 6. “The report clearly indicates the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers, while also acknowledging that Israel has security concerns and the Gaza blockade is legal. However, we know that the Israeli blockade of Gaza amounts to collective punishment as it includes civilians, women and children who bear no responsibility for the perceived threat to Israel,” said Sanberk of the 90-plus page report.

He also said that even though these details are not clearly stated in the panel’s report, another UN body, the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission in Geneva, had said last October that Israel’s military violated international law during the raid. “The report said that the naval blockade was not legal. It is interesting to note that two bodies, both under the UN, have conflicting results in their reports,” Sanberk added. “I should stress that the report’s reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable to us. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave the unfortunate event behind.”

I should stress that the reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable as other UN bodies challenge this view. As a maritime power with the longest coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is obviously unacceptable to us that a country be allowed to intercept ships according to its own interpretation of the law. The overarching rule of international law is freedom of navigation on the high seas. It’s the pillar of international law. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave that unfortunate event behind.

The primary body pushing the idea of reconciliation with Turkey is the Israeli Defense Ministry, which wants to revive billions of dollars in frozen arms deals and exports with Turkey. Defense Minister Ehud Barak repeatedly called on the Israeli side to display a resolute position on burying hostilities. Barak, who has been touted as the most pro-Turkish minister in the current Israeli coalition government, said earlier this month that “reconciliation with Turkey is drawing near” and that Israel is very interested in “putting the past behind us.”

More from Today’s Zaman: But Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is against the idea of apologizing to Turkey, claiming that this could lead to lawsuits against Israeli officials and commandos

Erdogan affirms Gaza visit – there may be some fresh vituperations born from recent experience landing in the Palmer report folks’ and Israel’s lap in the not too distant future.

UPDATES 2

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reiterated that Tel Aviv must formally apologize for its attack on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla last year.

Still the divergence of Turkish and Israeli media continues but to a lesser extent, with different versions of the same Reuters report, one of which the Haaretz version follows, quoting Barak, while the Todays Zaman version quotes Steinitz from an (earlier?) version, quoting an Israeli official saying the Palmer report has been finalised, and altering the end. Haaretz includes padding about concern for prosecution of Israel’s murderous soldiers:

Haaretz: Turkey PM: Israel must still apologize for last year’s Gaza flotilla raid

“Normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologizes for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his AK Party lawmakers.

On Thursday, an Israeli official said that a UN report on Israel’s interception of last year’s flotilla would be published on July 27 after delays to enable talks between Israel and Turkey.

In remarks to Channel 1 television on Friday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak dismissed Erdogan’s call for an apology and said he expected the UN inquiry to vindicate Israel’s actions.

“Israel did not commit any crime … (in my opinion) the Palmer commission will (say) that Israel acted according to international law. The blockade is legal, stopping the ships is
legal, the use of force in these circumstances is justified,” Barak said.

Israeli officials have also voiced concern that the naval commandos who carried out the interception of the flotilla would be exposed to prosecution abroad because an apology would be seen as an admission of culpability. Israel has said that the commandos acted in self-defense after being attacked by passengers.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which
branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

Todays Zaman: Erdogan: Israel must apologise to normalise ties

“Normalisation of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologises for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmakers.

An Israeli official told Reuters on Thursday a UN report on the seizure was due to be published on July 27, after delays to enable further talks between Israel and Turkey.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the findings of the committee set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by former New Zealand premier Geoffrey Palmer, saying only that they had been finalised.

But Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favour of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the (Gaza) blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” Steinitz, who sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eight-member inner council, told reporters.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

UPDATES

Haaretz is now reporting that

But Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favor of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the [Gaza] blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” he told reporters.

Steinitz said the Palmer report would include “minor” criticism of the interception last year of the converted cruise ship Mavi Marmara as it tried to run the Gaza blockade.

The (Palmer) report’s compliance with international laws is very important to us, and an outcome that contradicts the UN Human Rights Commission report will be unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.

Ynet publishes a seriously neurotic, hysterical childish tantrum : Israel a battered wife?

Related Links

UN report on ‘Freedom Flotilla I’ was questioned from the start
Israel still callous on flotilla killing
Turkish deep state and Cyprus
The unlikely alliance between Greek activists and the Flotilla

After a week of anti-austerity demonstrations and flotilla training, activists from both camps have emerged unified in their claim that Greek government no longer represents its people; rather it is now beholden to the interests of foreign bodies, be it Israel or the International Monetary Fund.

Mavi Marmara Links

“Even before the second flotilla departs,

the US, Israel and Egypt made a deal to open the Rafah crossing so as to prevent our trip. That means perhaps Palestine will be all free if we just sail,” Bülent Yildirim, who heads the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), said on Sunday evening.

Israel has asked Turkey and European states to stop the flotilla but Turkey refuses to take any action, saying it is a civilian initiative. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu has recently urged Israel not to “repeat the same mistake” with regard to the second flotilla.

Mavi Marmara not joining Gaza flotilla for technical reasons, IHH says

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who earlier said the government would not interfere with a civilian initiative, said this month that the organizers should wait to see how an Egyptian decision to lift the blockade of Gaza and a Palestinian reconciliation deal will affect the situation in Gaza.

Yildirim, speaking at a press conference in Istanbul, said the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara to Gaza had nothing to do with the government, emphasizing that it is a purely technical decision. “There is absolutely no obstruction by the government,” he said.

The IHH President said the Mavi Marmara boat,

which was hard hit in the Israeli raid and is still being fixed, could not take part in the Freedom Flotilla II. “The Mavi Marmara will definitely set sail for Gaza when it completes repair and maintenance works.”
….
Each day a new problem is spotted in the Mavi Marmara which was badly damaged in the Israeli attack, Yildirim noted. “On Monday the boat will sail for testing. However, the ship is not seaworthy enough to sail to Gaza yet and we do not think it will be appropriate to postpone ‘the Freedom Flotilla II.’

Unless the embargo is lifted, the Mavi Marmara is definitely going to sail to Gaza after completion of repair works, the IHH chairman said. “We have not forgotten that we were attacked in open sea nor have we forgotten our nine martyrs or volunteer Ugur Suleyman Soylemez who is still in coma. World leaders should act to find the culprits. And if they fail to do so, there is still a Mediterranean to sail in. And the Mavi Marmara will not be unseaworthy forever. And we will not always be sad for not participating in this sacred flotilla. The day Mavi Marmara is fixed we will set sail.

Palestine / Israel Links

Actor in Israel gov’s new anti-flotilla vid said to be Haaretz employee (Updated)
Sexy Israel” getting treatment for flotilla nightmares
Film production company Zed Films behind “Sex with Psychologist” hasbara video
Anti-flotilla videos: don’t believe the hype – includes faulty MEMRI
From DC to Athens: LET THE BOATS SAIL!
Egypt independent trade unions endorse BDS
Tutu boosts Murdoch-battered BDS campaign in Sydney
Greek Police purchase 900,000 euros worth of chemicals from Israel, France and the United States
Activists Protest Ban Confining Gaza Freedom Flotilla to Port
What about the Jews on the US boat to Gaza?
Amira Hass:

‘The flotilla’s organizers added a term from the world of business and globalization to their description of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Israel, they said, was outsourcing the industry of the blockade on Gaza. In exchange for reward, a foreign government – Greece – took on an active role and adopted a deliberate policy of keeping the Gaza Strip one huge prison.

Logic dictates that a government whose policy validates anti-Semitic stereotypes ought to worry Israelis and Jews worldwide. But the Israeli government is doing what its voters want and believe in. For there is one stereotype that has not been recycled here: that of the wise Jew.
Outsourcing, aggressive and vocal diplomacy and ridiculous lies thwarted the flotilla, but they have not taken Gaza off the international agenda. If Israel – which knew full well that there was not one gram of explosives aboard the ships – had let them sail to Gaza, the flotilla would not have preoccupied the international media as it did. ‘

Letter: Independent Jewish Voices says it’s proud to sponsor flotilla to Gaza

a State Department cable written from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in October 2008 and published by WikiLeaks sheds light on Israel’s claims about the economic situation in Gaza.

According to this cable:

Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis… Israeli officials have confirmed … on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.

Israel’s deliberate effort to keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” is what is motivating participants in the Freedom Flotilla to break its illegal blockade.

3 comments to Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm