(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for now has rejected a bid to apologize to Turkey for a fatal raid on a 2010 Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza.
Netanyahu preferred to hold off on any such gesture until after he has cobbled together a new government, Haaretz reported.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has advocated for such an apology since the May 2010 incident, suggested a formula to Netanyahu under which Barak, who is leaving the government, would deliver the apology and absorb any political fallout.
Netanyahu had considered such an apology but had balked in part because of the adamant opposition of his foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman.
Now out of government and facing a trial on fraud charges, Liberman is no longer a factor.
Turkish and Israeli media have reported intensified efforts in recent months to refurbish ties in the wake of the raid
As a condition to normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel, Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize for the death of nine activists who were killed when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship during a takeover operation in the Mediterranean.
The aid ship, chartered by the Islamist IHH organization, was headed to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-run area.