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 international media.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."
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"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 lynch them.
These are pacifists? The soldiers defended their lives with incomparable restraint.
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 Cypriot 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.