Victoria Raid 311.
(photo credit: IDF)
When we hear of the interception by our navy of a weapons-ferrying vessel on the
high seas, we get only a minimal glimpse of the end-product of a super-intricate
caper. We can only vaguely imagine the complexity of a worldwide endeavor
involving most of Israel’s intelligence agencies and involving information
sources and contacts in many disparate locations.
The upshot was that
when the IDF naval commandos boarded the German-owned, French-operated,
Romanian- captained and Liberian-chartered cargo ship Victoria Tuesday, they
knew precisely where to find the Chinese-made rockets concealed behind sacks of
cotton and lentils within the 39 Iranian containers loaded in Syria, before the
ship deceptively sailed north to Turkey, only to later swing back southward to
Sounds convoluted? It was.
Our appreciation for a job well
done only increases when we begin to fathom what it was that the Iranians tried
to deliver to their Gazan proxies. While much of world opinion laments a
supposed humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the Strip’s Hamas overlords never
lose an opportunity to demonstrate where their concerns really lie. They are
certainly not preoccupied with the welfare of their population.
was expected to transport to them “tiebreaker” land-to-sea (also
sea-to-sea) rocketry that would have prevented the Israel Navy from monitoring
the maritime traffic around Gaza. That would in turn have facilitated
unrestricted imports into Hamastan of all manner of game-changing weaponry and
turned Gaza into an even more potent Iranian outpost, situated, in military
terms, only a hop, skip and a jump from Tel Aviv.
By seizing the
, Israel not only dealt a blow to Hamas machinations but foremost to
those of Hamas’s Iranian patron. The Victoria
’s cargo wouldn’t merely have added
quantitatively to Hamas’s already colossal arsenal; it would have strategically
upgraded its quality.
With a 35-kilometer range, the Chinese designed
C-704 could theoretically have hit any boat within that radius from Gaza, as
well as hit naval facilities on Israeli shores, to say nothing of strategic
sites like the Ashkelon power plant, fuel depots, oil and gas facilities and
much more. It could have truly triggered a nightmare scenario.
the world media has shown only scant interest in the story. The likely pretext
for the lack of interest is Japan’s overshadowing radioactive
Yet in November 2009 the interception of the Francop, with a
haul of 320 tons of military hardware earmarked for Hezbollah (in brazen
violation of UN Resolution 1701), also made almost no waves internationally. No
looming nuclear calamity diverted the world’s attention at that time. Although
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the Francop’s cargo as constituting
“components of a war crime,” much of the negligible resonance generated in some
broadcasts actually dealt with accusations about “Israeli piracy.”
IMPLICATIONS are grave. Now, as then, there appears nearly no readiness to hear
Israel out. Israeli grievances are essentially ignored. Aggressive anti-Israel
schemes – of which the Victoria
is only the most recent example – aren’t
registered, much less internalized, at a time when the war against Israel has
increasingly switched to the propaganda arena, where vilification and libel are
the preferred weapons of choice. Iran’s protégés continually provoke Israel, yet
are still allowed to masquerade as victims.
The arsenals that
Tehran-sponsored terror groups import and hoard are crucially important. They
demonstrate that Israel isn’t facing local militias but Iranian stand-ins. These
ostensible underdogs possess deadly missiles and artillery, capable of upsetting
the precarious balance in our vicinity, undercutting our defenses and ultimately
enabling attacks on our civilian population centers.
It is precisely to
thwart these fundamentally strategic dangers, as distinct from tactical
annoyances, that Israel has maintained its sea blockade against Gaza. This isn’t
arbitrary wickedness but an indispensable element of Israel’s self-defense. Were
Israel misguidedly to forfeit its controls on traffic into Gaza, gunrunning
ships like the intercepted Victoria
might then regularly unload lethal arsenals
in broad daylight.
We Israelis, as well as any statesmen and/or
opinion molders overseas who purport to evince a modicum of objectivity, need to
remember that even a single Victoria
could bring in enough firepower to
critically alter the odds against an already embattled Israel.
worrying in that context was IDF Spokesman Avi Benayahu’s comment on Tuesday
that, for every Victoria thwarted, he simply couldn’t say how many had evaded