Syrian rebels have rejected Israel’s help, Liberman says

‘We don’t want to impose,’ foreign minister tells Turkish media

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: Flash90)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: Flash90)

Israel has offered humanitarian assistance to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday, but the rebels have rejected the offer.

In an interview published Monday in Hurriyet, Liberman said Israel had been told that “it is much better to keep [our] distance.”

“We don’t want to impose ourselves on the Syrian opposition,” Liberman added.

Speaking with a group of Turkish journalists at his office, Liberman also said that Israel has nothing to apologize for regarding the Mavi Marmara incident, in which Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turkish protesters who had lynched them.

“[The Mavi Marmara mission] was a clear provocation and it was our right to protect the lives of our soldiers. Frankly speaking, Israel has no reason to apologize,” he said.

“Even if Israel apologizes for the attack, that will change nothing,” Lieberman continued. “During his speeches in Parliament, [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan has repeatedly said that an apology will not improve the relations and that [Turkey] has additional conditions. Turkey has a long [list of] other conditions, including the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, [returning] to the border lines before 1967, compensation, et cetera. But this is not the best way to settle disagreements.”

Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to amend ties with Turkey.

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