PM: Capture of ship shows world dangers Israel faces

By
March 16, 2011 04:37

Netanyahu says decision to take over the 'Victoria' came following concrete information that it was carrying weapons for Gaza.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu 311 reuters. (photo credit:Reuters)

The interdiction of the Victoria ship carrying arms for terrorist elements in Gaza will show the world, always “quick to blame Israel” for defending itself, what it is up against, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Netanyahu, on a tour of the border fence being built along the frontier with Egypt, said that the decision to take over the Victoria had come after midnight Monday, following concrete information that it was carrying weapons for Gaza.

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“The arms were intended for terrorist elements in Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “The ship was taken over in the high seas, according to all the international regulations, and according to the rights we have according to international law to stop the smuggling of arms to be used against our citizens.”

Netanyahu said Iran was the source of the weapons, and that the ship had made a stop at a Syrian port.

While the sea is the main route of arms to Hamas in Gaza, it is not the only one, he pointed out. The other route is an overland one through Sudan.

President Shimon Peres, speaking alongside Netanyahu Tuesday evening at a ceremony in Eilat marking 62 years since the raising of a makeshift Israeli flag over the city, praised the prime minister, new Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, the IDF and the navy for the operation, which he said was a major security and diplomatic achievement.

The security achievement was in keeping the arms from reaching the terrorists, he said, and the diplomatic achievement was in being able to show the world why Israel could not allow flotillas into Gaza.

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said that the action proved that the “sea is important,” and that those pressing Israel to allow free and open sea access to and from Gaza might now understand Israel’s rationale for not doing so.

“Iran is trying again to shake up the regimes in the Middle East and to replace the moderate regimes with those that are ideologically close to them,” he said at the Negev Conference in Eilat, adding that the Iranians were trying to show who was “is in control of the Middle East.”

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