Wednesday 24 May 2017

Prime minister accuses his critics of 'hypocrisy and bias'

Jeffrey Heller and Alastair Macdonald in Jerusalem

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night accused those who have condemned Monday's attack of hypocrisy and bias.

In a televised address, Netanyahu defended Israel's enforcement of its blockade of Gaza, saying it was vital for the country's security and would stay in place.

He said easing controls would put long-range Iranian missiles into the hands of the Palestinian enclave's Hamas rulers.

"Once again, Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment," Netanyahu said of his international critics, as he defended the actions of Israeli marines who, he said, fired in self-defence after boarding the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.

"The international community cannot afford an Iranian port on the Mediterranean. The same countries that are criticising us today, should know that they could be targeted tomorrow," he said.

Dismissing complaints from the United Nations and other agencies on which Gaza's 1.5 million people depend for aid, he said Israel was letting in civilian goods but must halt weapons.

He noted Israel's previous capture of ships carrying arms to its enemies -- Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian groups.

Irish Independent

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