Bravo. “Israel calls Gaza blockade critics ‘hypocrites,'” by Jeffrey Heller and Allyn Fisher-Ilan for Reuters, June 2:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Defending Israel’s enforcement of its blockade of Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday it was vital for security and would stay in place.
In a televised speech after world outrage erupted over nine deaths in Monday’s seizure of a Turkish ship bound for Gaza, a defiant Netanyahu said easing controls would put Iranian missiles in the hands of the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers.
This threatened not just Israel but Europe too, he said.
Turkey, a Muslim country that had been Israel’s strategic ally, accused it of “state terrorism” and has recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and demanded it lift its blockade.
Those calls have been echoed by European leaders and the United Nations whose Human Rights Council voted to set up an independent fact-finding mission into the incident.
Israel’s key backer, the United States, is less outspoken. It has called for calm. Western powers agree with Israel that Iranian-backed Hamas is a threat but say the embargo should not punish the 1.5 million people trapped in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu made no mention of launching any form of investigation, despite the growing calls inside Israel as well for a hard look at what critics say was a bungled raid.
He lambasted world leaders for criticizing the ships’ takeover, accusing some of holding Israel to what he called a double standard and questioning its right to defense.
“Once again, Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment,” Netanyahu said as he defended the actions of Israeli marines who, he said, fired in self-defense against Turks wielding sticks and knives on the cruise liner Mavi Marmara.
“The international community cannot afford an Iranian port on the Mediterranean…The same countries that are criticizing us today, should know that they could be targeted tomorrow.”…
Oh, they’ll find out.