Families of Mavi Marmara Victims Go To Trial Despite Israeli Apology

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published April 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s apology to Turkey over the 2010 killing of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship did not go far enough and Israeli soldiers will be pursued in court, survivors of the incident said on Monday.

In a rapprochement brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologised to his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on March 22 for the killings, pledged compensation to the bereaved or hurt and agreed to ease a six-year blockade on Gaza. Erdogan said these gestures met his conditions for normalising relations with its erstwhile ally.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said while visiting Istanbul on Sunday that restoring full ties between Turkey and Israel was vital to regional stability.

With the apology, Israel aimed to end a three-year diplomatic crisis with Turkey, once its closest regional ally, that erupted when Israeli soldiers stormed an international flotilla carrying relief aid to challenge the Gaza blockade.

As part of the agreement on compensation, Israel wants lawsuits against its soldiers to be dropped.

“We will continue with the criminal lawsuits we have opened against the Israeli soldiers and commanders, and we won’t accept dropping this suit if compensation is paid,” said Musa Cogas, who was wounded by Israeli gunfire on board the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians.

An Istanbul court is hearing charges that have been filed against four of Israel’s most senior retired commanders, including the ex-army chief, in absentia and could carry life sentences. Israel has called this a politically motivated “show trial”.

Ahmet Varol, a journalist who was on the Mavi Marmara, said one “formula for a resolution” would be for Israel to provide a timetable for ending the blockade of Gaza, ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, and make Turkey a monitor of that process.

“Our efforts are for the full lifting of the blockade. Nobody wants compensation, and while an apology may have diplomatic meaning, it means nothing to the victims,” he said.

The apology nonetheless showed Israel had accepted its wrongdoing in the incident, Varol added.

The United States has urged the two sides to mend fences to ease Israel’s diplomatic isolation in the Middle East and to improve coordination to contain spillover from the Syrian civil war and face the challenge of Iran’s nuclear programme.

A senior Israeli official told Reuters last month Israel did not commit to ending its Gaza blockade as part of reconciliation with Turkey and could clamp down even harder on the Palestinian enclave if security is threatened.

“It’s not possible to heal my wounds with just an apology,” said Cogas, who was shot in the shoulder by Israeli marines. His friend of 30 years, Cengiz Songur, was killed in the raid. “Unless these soldiers are punished and the blockade is lifted…, we won’t accept compensation.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.