Capture of Iran ship fails to make waves

(Photo: Flash 90)

(Photo: Flash 90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the visit to Tehran by the EU’s foreign policy chief this week as Israel presented missiles that Iran was shipping to terror organisations in the Gaza Strip.

Mr Netanyahu was speaking on Monday at Eilat Port where the IDF put on display 40 M-302 missiles and other ammunition captured by Israeli commandos in the Red Sea last week.

The missiles were manufactured in Syria, shipped by an Iranian smuggling network via Iran and probably meant to reach Islamic Jihad in Gaza, from where they could have been used to target Israel’s main cities.

Presenting the shipment’s false and original documents, proving its Iranian provenance, Mr Netanyahu said that, in the future, such shipments could be used by Iran to transport “nuclear suitcases”.

“There are those in the international community who would not want us to hold this event,” the Prime Minister said. “It’s hard for them that we are revealing the truth behind Iran’s false smiles.”

Without specifically mentioning Baroness Catherine Ashton, who this week visited Tehran and met Iran’s leaders, Mr Netanyahu criticised her, saying: “Ignoring the capture of this ship is further evidence for the age of hypocrisy in which we live. We have witnessed the West’s representatives shaking hands with the Iranian regime while these missiles were being off-loaded in Eilat. Yet when we build a balcony in Jerusalem, we hear a chorus of condemnation.”

Mr Netanyahu’s frustration at the relative lack of international interest in the shipment was palpable. The Netanyahu-supporting freesheet, Yisrael Hayom, ran a headline on Tuesday asking: “Do you need more proof?” But with an ongoing crisis in Crimea and the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner, the Gaza-bound missiles received scant attention.

The Prime Minister’s Office had gone to great lengths to generate interest from the international media, including chartering a flight to take journalists to Eilat. The response was less than enthusiastic. “We reported on the shipment’s capture,” said one representative of a large media organisation. “But we didn’t send anyone down to Eilat because it was just a dog-and-pony show, nothing new was said there.”

Last updated: 3:17pm, March 13 2014