EILAT, Israel: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the world of “hypocrisy” over Iran on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as he unveiled a shipment of arms allegedly dispatched to Gaza by Tehran.
Standing in front of a vast display of weapons seized last week from a vessel in the Red Sea, Netanyahu launched a blistering attack on the West over its apparent disregard for Iran’s alleged attempts to supply longer-range rockets to Palestinian militants.
In a highly publicized speech from Eilat port, where the weapons had been unloaded, Netanyahu said he had only heard a handful of “softly worded condemnations of Iran” over its “murderous delivery” which came to light just days before European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton made a landmark visit to Tehran.
“We have been witness to the smiles and the handshakes between representatives of the West and the heads of the Iranian regime in Tehran, even as these missiles were being unloaded here in Eilat,” he said.
There were some in the international community who did not want Israel to expose “the truth behind the false smiles of Iran,” he said, dismissing President Hassan Rouhani, who has spearheaded Iran’s opening to the West, as nothing more than “a PR man.”
“They want to continue perpetuating the illusion that Iran has changed direction. The facts that we are showing here, on this platform show the complete opposite,” he said.
Ahead of the speech, hordes of journalists and foreign military attaches were shown the weapons found on board the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C, including 40 longer-range M-302 rockets, 181 mortar rounds and approximately 400,000 rifle cartridges.
Also on display were sacks of cement under which the weapons had been hidden. On the sacks, written in English, were the names “Fars and Khozestan Cement Co.” and “Hormozgan Cement Co.”—both names of Iranian firms.
M-302 rockets have a range of 160 kilometers (100 miles), and if fired from Gaza could easily reach Tel Aviv, which lies just 60 kilometers to the north.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said Gaza militants have around 8,000 rockets, including 200 M75s, named for their 75-kilometer range.