The Israeli PR campaign to frame Iran as a power which backs terror organizations and targets innocent people around the world will reach its peak when dozens of M-302 missiles removed from the Klos-C ship will be exposed to the media in broad daylight.
Iran, said the prime minister. Iran, said the defense minister. Iran, said the Intelligence Directorate chief. The Gaza Strip-bound missiles were hidden behind sacks of cement in the belly of the ship, which had the explicit name "Iran" written on them.
In the past few days one could detect a certain frustration among our leaders over the fact that the world has not joined the Israeli condemnation campaign against Iran and that the attempts to reach a compromise with Tehran's ayatollah regime continue. The Israeli decision makers' immediate response was "interests." The world's leaders are guided by the desire to sell and buy goods from Tehran.
It's true. In international relations one can point at this principle as a key guideline in decisions made by leaders.
And how is it here? Are we built differently? Well, the missiles you'll see in Eilat were made with Chinese knowledge and technological aid. The missile which hit the INS Hanit corvette – which participated in the Klos-C raid in the Red Sea – during the Second Lebanon War was a missile called C-802, originally a Chinese missile which is now manufactured in Iran.
Iran has become a nuclear threshold country with China's help. The Chinese are providing the Iranians not only with technology and uranium, but also with an international umbrella preventing its punishment in organizations the Chinese are members of.
In short, the advice one can give our prime minister, who I believe is really interested in guaranteeing the security of Israel's citizens, is as follows: Leave the Iranians alone. Invest the public effort, your proven skills in PR wars, in order to convince the Chinese to sell less knowledge and fewer deadly weapons which could critically harm us.
'National security interests'Suggesting is easy. Do you remember that the prime minister forbade former Mossad officials to testify against the Bank of China, which was involved in transferring funds to terror organizations in the Gaza Strip? The argument voiced by the Prime Minister's Office is that the prohibition stems from a desire to maintain "national security interests."
"Interests," we said. "Interests" versus other values, like protecting the Israelis' lives.
And now, imagine that the commando fighters who took over the Panamanian ship, whose crew was comprised mostly of Turkish nationals, would have faced resistance which would have ended with casualties among our soldiers and the Turks. Erdogan would have demanded compensation, an apology and who knows what else.
If this reminds you of what happened on the Mavi Marmara, which commando fighters took over in 2009 and prevented from reaching the Gaza Strip, you are right. In that affair Netanyahu has already agreed to pay $20 million in damages and apologize to the Turks, and that is still not enough for Turkey's prime minister. No one asked the commando fighters who became disabled following the Marmara affair whether it was the right thing to do. Because, like we said, what counts in international relations is the "interests."
Now, the world is very interested in reaching a compromise with the Iranians, and Netanyahu is very interested, for certain reasons and other reasons which will be become clear in the future, to sustain good relations with China. It's a shame, however, that the army and defense establishment leaders give themselves so easily to the prime minister's PR campaigns.
And after all these quandaries, we must not forget for a moment the immense appreciation we owe the IDF, the commando fighters, the Navy and the Mossad, who pledge with huge effort to prevent the arrival of weapons aimed at causing destruction in our population centers.
As for the leaders, they still have to prove that they are capable of leading diplomatic moves, particularly the initiative to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Preventing the spillover of missiles to the Gaza Strip is only one part of the required equation.