PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Display of Weaponry from the Victoria
Photo by GPO 

"First, I would like to commend IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, GOC Navy Adm. Eliezer Marom, the naval commandos and all the soldiers and officers who took part in the operation to intercept this ship, the Victoria.

It is possible to load a very considerable amount of weaponry on a vessel such as this.  In the past, we intercepted the Francop, which was carrying, on its deck, hundreds of tons of war materiel equal in value to a considerable part of the ammunition that was fired at Israelis in the Second Lebanon War.  You remember the Karine A with dozens of tons.  Here, there are several dozen tons.  As has been pointed out, there are deadly weapons here and they were transported in ships over a sea route.  To all those who have asked, attacked and criticized Israel for stopping and searching ships destined for Gaza, well here is the clearest possible answer, here, today in Ashdod, why it is our duty, not just our right, to stop and disarm such ships.

The deadly weaponry that you see here originated in Iran.  We see the writing.  Defense Minister Ehud Barak is holding, in a plastic bag, a greeting written in Farsi, for using some of these weapons.  They originate in Iran.  They passed through Syria and were en route to terrorists in the Gaza Strip.  But, as has been said, their final objective was Israeli citizens.  We have already experienced and been hit by thousands, if not tens of thousands, of rockets, missiles and mortar rounds, which have already been fired at Israeli citizens.

Everyday, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist elements are making efforts to smuggle weapons into Lebanon and Gaza.  This is the axis of terrorism: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.  This is the axis of terrorism in our region and this is the axis of terrorism that we have to deal with and, in the end, break.  It is our desire to prevent terrorism, maintain security and create here a chance for peace."