From: The Australian June 04, 2010, by Abraham Rabinovich, Jerusalem:
ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused his nation's critics yesterday of an "international offensive of hypocrisy", making the Jewish state's first major response to worldwide condemnation of its bloody takeover this week of a Turkish vessel said to be on a humanitarian mission to Gaza.
"This wasn't a love boat," Mr Netanyahu said of the Turkish cruise boat boarded by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of nine activists. "This was a hate boat. These people weren't pacifists, they were violent supporters of terror. I ask the international community: what would you have done?"
Mr Netanyahu said the objective of the six-ship convoy that Israel forcibly diverted to its port of Ashdod was not to bring humanitarian assistance to residents of Gaza, but to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The blockade, he said, was necessary to prevent the shipment of massive numbers of rockets and other armaments by Iran to the Hamas regime in Gaza. "Had the maritime siege been broken, hundreds more such flotillas would have arrived," Mr Netanyahu said. "If we don't inspect vessels coming to Gaza, there would be an Iranian port in Gaza."
An Iranian port on the Mediterranean would be a danger not only to Israel but to other countries in the region as well as in Europe, he said.
While Hamas has been able to manufacture its own short-range rockets and smuggle rockets into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt, a single ship could bring in armaments of a totally different magnitude, the Israeli leader said.
A vessel intercepted by the Israeli navy last year in the Mediterranean was found to be carrying 200 tonnes of Iranian armaments bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Preventing rockets from reaching Gaza, with which Israel is in a state of war, was not only the government's obligation to its people but also its right under international law, Mr Netanyahu said.
As for the deaths of nine activists aboard the vessel boarded this week by naval commandos, the Mavi Marmara, Mr Netanyahu expressed regret at the loss of life but said the men attacking the commandos boarding the vessel had staged a deliberate ambush with metal staves and knives and had fired guns with intent to kill, using weapons snatched from fallen commandos...