Phone conversations are almost always awkward, and rarely more awkward than when you're calling someone for the very first time and apologizing for the time your military killed eight Turkish citizens in a raid on a flotilla bringing aid to the blockaded Gaza strip. And yet! Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did just that today, calling his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan, apologizing for the "operational mistakes of the Israeli military," and starting down the path toward the normalization of relations between the countries:
In a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to compensate the families of the victims. Mr Netanyahu had previously only expressed regret for the nine deaths. The stance significantly damaged relations between the two US allies.
Mr Erdogan had accepted the apology, [U.S. officials] added. In the past, he has always given two conditions for restoring bilateral relations with Israel - an apology and compensation for the victims' families.
The call comes on President Obama's second day of a tour of the Middle East. Talk about an "apology tour," am I right?