On Wednesday Israeli and international media claimed that the Israeli navy had seized a ship in the Red Sea that was carrying dozens of Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria and destined for Gaza. The story has been faithfully reproduced in the NZ media.
The Middle East Monitor reports, 6 March 2014.
The Palestinian government in Gaza has stated that the occupation’s announcement of its interception of a ship in the Red Sea supposedly on its way to Gaza carrying advanced Iranian weapons is an Israeli fabrication “to justify the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip”.
An adviser to the cabinet, Taher Al-Nono, said: “The Israeli announcement and the scenario about intercepting the weapons ship is a silly storyline in a failing film that is not convincing at all; used as a means to justify and prolong the blockade of Gaza, in correspondence with Egyptian attempts to eliminate Hamas.”
He added, “Hamas and Gaza will rise above the results of these regional policies that impose blockade and restrictions”, noting that preventing Algerian activist Jamila Bu Hreid, along with a delegation of 100 other female activists, from entering Gaza would be a clear and blatant Egyptian statement that it is blockading Gaza. So far, the Egyptian government has already deported Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and American activist Medea Benjamin.
Al-Nono stressed that “None of these actions will affect our wisdom in dealing with their outcome and our calmness in assessing the situation.”
The Israeli occupation claims it intercepted an Iranian ship sailing in the Red Sea on the borders between Eritrea and Sudan, 1500 km away from occupied Palestine.
Iran has denied that the massive weapons shipment seized by the Israeli navy on Wednesday was launched from its ports and heading to the Gaza Strip, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Amir Abdollahian insisted that: “This allegation is not true and in principle the message or movement of a ship carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza is not true.”
He added that: “The allegation is merely based on repetitious and baseless fabrications of the Zionist media.”
Meanwhile, the London based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported a source in the Eritrean opposition saying that the shipment was heading to Houthi Shiites in Yemen, who are engaged in an armed struggle against both Al-Qaeda affiliated militants and the Yemini government.
The source denied that the shipment was heading to Gaza and ruled out the possibility of Iran even sending such a shipment at this time, because of the uneasy relations between Hamas and Iran. [Abridged]