Netanyahu 311 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
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.
“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
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
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
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
“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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