The need to prevent arms smuggling: This attempt at smuggling large amounts of weaponry aboard the Victoria provides additional proof of Israel’s imperative need to examine all goods entering the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Israel cannot allow weapons and military equipment to reach the hands of terrorists, who will use them against its civilian population.
Israel acted in self-defense: The illegal smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip poses a direct and imminent threat to the safety and security of the State of Israel and its citizens, who continue to find themselves under the unceasing attack of rocket and mortar fire originating from Gaza.
The Iranian connection: Preliminary evidence indicates that the weapons aboard the ship originated in Iran, which strives to arm the Gaza Strip. Under Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip has become part of the Iranian-Syrian-Hamas axis.
March 16, 2011
By Josh Lederman
ASHDOD, Israel — Rows of boxes, crates and containers filled with weapons stretched out on a dock Wednesday alongside a ship commandeered by Israel’s navy, a display of what Israel said was a shipment of arms, some sophisticated, to Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Israel intercepted the ship Tuesday in international waters in the Mediterranean, saying it was carrying weapons sent by Iran via Syria. Israel says the advanced anti-ship missiles found on board could alter the region’s balance of power by impeding its ability to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Next to the captured ship, the “Victoria,” Israeli officials showed off what they said were roughly 2,500 mortar shells, nearly 75,000 bullets and six C-704 anti-ship missiles.
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