Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, who on Friday issued a scathing critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey, consented to a similar overture a year and a half ago, Liberman’s former deputy, Danny Ayalon, charged on Monday.
“The outline already existed and he did not oppose it then,” Ayalon told Army Radio.
Liberman’s office denied the accusation categorically, saying in a statement that the former foreign minister had “never worked on any version of an apology to the Turks.” Ayalon’s comments were “inventions and lies,” the statement said.
On Friday, Liberman slammed Netanyahu, his close coalition partner, for his decision to apologize to his Turkish counterpart for “operational errors” made by Israel during a 2010 raid on the Turkish-registered, Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara that led to nine Turkish fatalities.
“Erdogan’s tirades against Israel at every turn, from the attack on President [Peres] in 2009 at [a public panel at the World Economic Forum’s] Davos conference, up to his words few weeks ago — that Zionism is racism and a crime against humanity — and his refusal to apologize for this statement explicitly, while simultaneously accepting an apology from Israel, harms the dignity and status of Israel in the region and in the world,” Liberman said.
The apology was a “serious mistake,” he said.
Liberman and Ayalon have been at each other’s throats ever since the state prosecution announced late last year that Ayalon would be a key witness in the breach of trust trial against his former boss. Several weeks before Ayalon was named a witness, Liberman confounded political pundits by summarily omitting him from his Yisrael Beytenu party’s Knesset slate.