netanyahu visits troops 311.
(photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night, made his first
public statement to the nation after the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla,
which left nine activists dead and has wreaked havoc in the
Speaking live to the nation, Netanyahu said, "The State of Israel faces
an attack of international hypocrisy. This is not the first time we have
faced this, two years ago we faced a massive attack of missiles fired
by Hamas who hid behind civilians. Israel went to great lengths to avoid
civilian casualties but who did the UN condemn? It condemned Israel."
rallies sweep country, countering int'l condemnation
"Hamas continues to arm. Iran continues to send weapons to Gaza. Iran's
rockets are intended to hit Israeli communities, not just in the
vicinity of Gaza, but in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."
"It is our right according to International law to prevent arms
smuggling to Gaza and that is why the naval blockade was put in place.
The flotilla intended to break the blockade, not to bring in emergency
supplies which we allow to reach Gaza"
"If the blockade had been broken, hundreds of ships would have followed,
with a scale of smuggling far greater than that possible in the
tunnels. Two ships stopped in the last years -Francop and Karine-A - had
hundreds of tons of weapons."
"It is our duty to examine any ship going to Gaza - If we don't do this,
the result would be an Iranian port in Gaza, only a few dozen
kilometers from Tel Aviv, which would also threaten other countries in
the region. We offered to take the cargo to Ashdod and examine it, an
offer which Egypt seconded. The flotilla leaders rejected this."
"The takeover of five of the ships passed quietly. In the sixth ship,
our soldiers encountered an extreme group that supports Hamas terror.
This wasn't the "love boat" this was a flotilla of terror supporters."
"I talked to our soldiers, they were shot at. There was an attempt to
These are pacifists? The soldiers defended their lives with incomparable
What would any other country do? At best, they would act in the same
way, or much worse."
"Of course we regret the loss of life, but I ask the international
community what would you do instead? We'll continue to defend our
citizens and assert our right for self defense, which is my first duty
as Prime Minister."
"It is important that we stay united on this issue, which is a matter of
life and death."
The Karine-A was an Iranian
ship carrying arms to Gaza which Israeli troops boarded eight years ago
in the Red Sea. The MV Francop was an Iranian arms ship that
was boarded off the coast of Cyprus. and was carrying arms to
Hizbullah. Another Iranian ship, the
Monchegorsk was seized by
authorities in 2009.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided
on Tuesday that
Israel would not
prosecute or continue to hold the participants it captured from the
Gaza protest flotilla, despite earlier plans to put on trial those who
had attacked the soldiers boarding the ships.