Media:Israel says no to flotilla apology

Israel will hold fast to its decision not to apologize to Turkey for its raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla ship, despite a direct request from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Israeli officials reportedly said.

Israeli media are citing unnamed Israeli officials as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a telephone conversation with Clinton, turned down an Obama administration request to apologize to Turkey for the deaths of nine Turkish citizens when the Israeli navy intercepted the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

The findings of a United Nations inquiry into the incident are expected to be made public next week. The Palmer report is reported — according to advance copies given to the two countries — to vindicate Israel for blockading the Gaza Strip.

Turkey has said it will not reconcile with Israel until Israel offers a formal apology and financial compensation; Israel has offered its “regret.”

Meanwhile, reported that Jerusalem is concerned that Turkey will not approve Israel’s new ambassador to the country, who is scheduled to arrive in Ankara soon. The term of the current ambassador, Gabby Levy, is scheduled to end in two weeks He had been asked to extend his term, which does not require Turkey’s approval, but reportedly refused.

Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel shortly after the flotilla incident, and relations between the two nations continue to deteriorate. — jta