Turkey’s humanitarian gesture of sending firefighting air tankers to help combat the Carmel fire seems to have melted the ice in Turkish-Israeli relations. Haaretz is reporting that a possible resolution of the Mavi Marmara impasse may be at hand, by which Israel would pay $100,000 to each dead victim’s family and a smaller amount to those wounded. One of the main sticking points appears to be Israel’s refusal to use the word “apology” and its insistence on the term “regret.” Israel is also balking at apologizing to the Turkish people and prefers that its statement be addressed in humanitarian terms only to those who were killed or wounded in the incident.
Another intent of the settlement would bar Israel or its citizens from being sued for damages as a result of the attack.
At any rate, if a deal is struck it will mark a major climb-down by Netanyahu from his formerly adamant position that Israel’s actions were entirely defensive and praiseworthy. It will also mark a major victory for the Turkish prime minister in his international campaign for Israeli accountability for the massacre. I doubt Israelis will make Bibi pay a price for such a deal. They will cynically view it as the cost of doing business in terms of Israel’s position on the world stage.
As is typical of Israeli politics, we have the spectacle of disgraced former prime minister and Bibi-enemy, Ehud Olmert denouncing Bibi’s possible deal while holding up to view his own government’s supposedly spotless record of maintaining an impermeable seal on Gaza. And of course, Avigdor Lieberman considers an agreement akin to selling out Israel’s interests. Next, we’ll hear Tzipi Livni weigh in with some mindless grandstanding of her own.