Netanyahu: I won't apologise
Jerusalem - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he would not apologise to Turkey over an Israeli raid that killed nine Turks on a ship bound for Gaza, reiterating his position after Ankara downgraded its relations with the Jewish state.
Turkey on Friday froze all military pacts with Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador and threatened legal sanctions after a UN report on the May 2010 raid failed to trigger an Israeli apology.
The report said that Israel had used unreasonable force in the raid of the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, but added that pro-Palestinian activists onboard mounted organised and violent resistance.
Turkey also wants an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza and compensation for the families of those killed in the raid.
"We do not need to apologise that the naval commandos defended themselves against the violent activists," Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, echoing a statement issued by his office on Friday.
"I hope a way can be found to overcome the dispute with Turkey.”
The UN report by a four-member panel said Israel's naval blockade of Gaza was a legitimate security measure to prevent weapons from reaching the enclave but the amount of force used by the Israeli commandos was "excessive and unreasonable".
Publication of the so-called Palmer report was delayed repeatedly to allow for months of rapprochement talks between Israel and Turkey, once close strategic allies, at a time of wide upheaval in the Middle East.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, regarded as a hero in the Muslim world for championing the Palestinian cause, is expected to go to Egypt later this month.