Netanyahu condemns world for ‘hypocrisy’ on Iran weapons discovery
EILAT - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday lashed out at the international community for its "hypocrisy" in ignoring Israel's discovery of a shipload of weapons allegedly sent from Iran to Gaza.
Standing in front of a vast display of weapons seized last week from a vessel in the Red Sea, Netanyahu launched a sharply-worded attack on world powers and singled out EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton over her visit to Tehran.
The world's apparent decision to downplay the discovery in favour of improved relations with Iran was "evidence of the era of hypocrisy in which we are living," he charged at a highly-publicised news conference in the southern port city of Eilat.
The Israeli leader said he had heard only a handful of condemnations of this "murderous delivery," which was intercepted days before Ashton made a weekend visit to Tehran due to wrap up Monday.
"In spite of this, 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.
"By comparison, if we build a balcony in a neighbourhood of Jerusalem, we hear a chorus of vociferous condemnation of the state of Israel from the international community," he said, referring to criticism of Israel's ongoing settlement construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
"It is not only morally wrong, it is dangerous," Netanyahu charged, reiterating his long-standing claim that the West is being duped by Iran's diplomatic overtures following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate.
World powers are currently engaged in talks with Iran to roll back its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran has long insisted its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.
But Israel, which believes Iran is still trying to build a military nuclear capability, has repeatedly insisted that the only thing that Tehran has changed is its tactics.
"Just as Iran hid its deadly missiles in the belly of this ship, Iran is hiding its actions and its intentions in many of its key installations for developing nuclear weapons," he said.
"Before it's too late, the world must wake up from its illusion and prevent Iran from getting the capability to build a nuclear weapon."
Israel is the region's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state.