Israeli Official: Turks Not Interested in Reconciliation

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel rejected on Thursday a Turkish attempt to blame Israel for a deadlock in the reconciliation efforts stemming from the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told Turkish media that Israel was at fault for backtracking on what he alleged was a prior agreement to admit that the compensation payment for bereaved families was the result of “a wrongful act” in the boarding of the Mavi Marmara.

An Israeli official was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that Arinc’s comments show that Ankara is not genuinely interested in settling the dispute but seeks only to humiliate Israel.

The official explained that the formula for the apology Turkey had demanded was carefully crafted so as to avoid admission of any legal culpability on the part of Israel.

Until now, it was understood that the dispute between the two sides centered on the amount of compensation.

But this week Arinc said, “The amount of money is not the problem. There are two problematic areas. The first one is that Israel should accept that it’s paying this money as a result of its wrongful act. Nothing less than this will be accepted.

“And second, we are waiting for them to realize our third condition of cooperating with Turkey in making life conditions easier for Palestinians. We are not talking about the amount of money as our first two conditions have not been met,” he added.

Israel’s National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror, who heads the Israeli delegation to Turkey for the talks, denied that Israel had ever commited to a Turkish demand to ending its Gaza blockade as part of the reconciliation process.

“If there is quiet, the processes easing the lives of Gazan residents will continue. And if there is Katyusha fire, then these moves will be slowed and even stopped, and if necessary, even reversed,” Amidror told Army Radio in March.

“We do not intend to give up on our right to respond to what happens in Gaza because of the agreement with the Turks,” he added.