An Associated Press report published in Haaretz informs us that: “Turkish President Abdullah Gul said late Monday that Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla would have sparked war ‘in old times’.”
Gul repeated his country’s demand, made following the Israeli naval attack at sea on the Freedom Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean, that Israel “must adhere to international law and take public responsibility for the attack”.
In an interview with AP in New York, where Gul is one of many world leaders attending a special high-level session of the UN General Assembly, he said: “It is not possible to act as though this incident did not take place … In the old world, in the old times, if such an incident were to take place, wars would follow … But in our world today, it is international law that has to be taken into consideration … It is up to Israel. They have to do what is necessary since they are the ones that created the incident,” he added”.
The AP report said that senior Israeli sources had confirmed that Gul had made an Israeli apology a condition for meeting Israel’s President Shimon Peres in New York. Gul did not tell AP that this was a Turkish condition, but AP noted that “Peres said … that the planned meeting was scrapped because Turkey had set unacceptable conditions”.
This report is published here.
Peres had a very public confrontation with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan in a similar high-profile meeting of global leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January 2009, just after the massive three-week IDF Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Erdogan harshly criticized the Israeli military operation as “barbaric” (but denied rebuking Peres personally). Erdogan also said that David Ignatius, the Washington Post moderator of the panel on which the two leaders had participated, had given Peres extra time beyond what each person had been allocated. (Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and UNSG BAN Ki-Moon were the other two participants on that panel in Davos.) It was later reported that Peres called to apologize and smooth things over.
Meanwhile, another Haaretz report from the UN in New York by Shlomo Shamir, about the cancellation due to disagreement of a scheduled press conference with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad after a periodic meeting of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee committee, said — surprisingly — that “The joint press conference was expected to include a statement calling to put an end to the Gaza-bound aid flotillas from around the world“. This story is posted here.
For an account of the same reported Ayalon-Fayyad disagreement that focuses more fully on another angle — the issue of recognition of Israel as a “Jewish State” (or as the “state of the Jewish people”) — see our sister site, Palestine-Mandate.com.
In related news, the most senior international law expert on the Israeli-appointed Turkel commission looking into the Flotilla fiasco, Shabtai Rosenne, has died at age 93.