Tel Aviv: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that “Israel won’t apologize for defending itself” and described criticism of the commando attack on six flotilla heading towards the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid as “international hypocrisy”.
He spoke both in Hebrew and then in English at a special press conference in his office.
“Once again Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment. What would you do? How would your soldiers behave in similar circumstances? In your heart, you all know the truth,” the Washington Post quoted Netanyahu, as saying.
“This might sound like an impossible plea, request or demand,” he continued, adding, “Israel should not be held to a double standard. The Jewish state has a right to defend itself like any other state.”
If ships were allowed to sail to Gaza without inspection as flotilla organizers have demanded, nothing could stop Iran from sending high-level weapons to Hamas in Gaza, said Netanyahu.
Already, he said, Hamas has missiles that can hit major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon, Beersheba and even Tel Aviv. Very soon, their missiles will also be able to reach the outskirts of Jerusalem.
“Israel can not permit Iran to develop a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv,” said Netanyahu.
He added that missiles could also be launched from there toward Europe.
“The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they will be targeted tomorrow,” he said.
Under international law, Israel had every right to intercept the ship, he said.