by Stephen Lendman
On Thursday, Israeli Lt. Col. Peter Lerner lied. He claimed Israeli naval forces intercepted an Iranian arms vessel.
It was heading for Gaza via Sudan, he said. It carried medium-range missiles, he added. So-called Klos-C surface-to-surface M302 rockets were named.
The alleged incident happened in the Red Sea 1,500 kilometers from Israel's coastline, he claimed.
"We have conclusive evidence that there were rockets on board the ship, and we have proof and can say with certainty that Iran is behind this operation," he said.
He continued claiming rockets originated from Syria. They were placed on planes at Damascus airport. They were shipped to Iran.
They were loaded aboard its cargo ship. It set sail days ago for Sudan. It diverted north to Iraq. Rockets were covered with cement bags to disguise them. The vessel continued en route to Sudan.
Who knows what happened, if anything. Nothing links Iran or Syria with shipping rockets to Gaza. Israel has no evidence whatever proving it. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash.
The report's timing raised obvious suspicions. Netanyahu was in Washington. He met with Obama. He hyperventilated. He lied.
He said Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He repeats the Bog Lie often. He knows its nuclear program has no military component. He pretends otherwise. Iran bashing is longstanding Israeli policy.
He was silent about Israel's formidable arsenal. He claimed Iran threatens to bring Israel "to the brink of destruction."
He'll "do whatever (he) must to defend the Jewish state," he said. Its only enemies are ones it invents.
He addressed AIPAC's annual conference. His comments sparked a furious Palestinian response.
"It's time for Palestinians to stop denying history," he said. "Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be willing to recognize a Jewish one."
He told Abbas to recognize a Jewish state and "abandon the fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees."
Palestinian official Nabil Shaath called his demand "an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations."
PLO senior member Hanan Ashrawi said it's "like telling Palestinians they did not exist all these hundreds of thousands of years, that this historically has been (an exclusive) Jewish land."
Following the AIPAC conference, Netanyahu told reporters:
Discovering so-called weapons revealed "the true face of Iran. (It's) been exposed for what it is."
"It smiles in Geneva talks about its own nuclear ambitions, gives soothing words, and as they are doing that, they're shipping these deadly weapons to the world's worst terrorists."
It's hard matching his bluster. His hyperventilating wore thin long ago. Even current and former Israeli officials don't trust him.
He's way over-the-top. He's his own worst enemy. His bullying/bluster offends. He repeats one Big Lie after another. It's habitual.
He considers Arabs subhuman. He obsesses over Iran. He heads Israel's rogue state government. He's a regional existential threat.
On Thursday, he was in Los Angeles. He spoke at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance. His bluster continued.
He outrageously compared Iran's leaders to Hitler. He nonsensically claimed he called for Israel's destruction before it existed.
He lied claiming Iran calls for the same thing. "We shall not allow Iran to arm itself with the capability to destroy us," he said.
"We cannot be tolerant to the intolerant. We cannot be tolerant to the fanatics."
They infest Israel. They threaten regional peace and security. Netanyahu didn't explain.
"These people are out to destroy a section of people called the Jewish people," he bellowed. "We will not let them. We shall expose them and we will fight them."
"And I'll tell you another thing. We shall beat them."
Netanyahu met separately with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and Mossad head Tamir Pardo.
He's going all-out to subvert P5+1 talks. He hyped a nonexistent Iranian threat, saying:
"At a time when Iran is talking with world powers, is smiling and uttering pleasantries, it is also sending deadly weapons to terrorist organization - via an elaborate network of secret operations around that world that aim to funnel rockets, missiles and other deadly weapons to be used to harm innocent civilians."
"This is the real Iran, and this country must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons."
"We will continue to do everything we must to protect the citizens of Israel."
Washington and Israel jointly concocted the alleged Iranian rockets seizure story. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed US military forces were ready to intervene.
They let Israel "take the lead." It bears repeating. Who knows what happened. Believing Israel and Washington requires a giant leap of faith.
International law prohibits interdicting vessels in open waters. Doing so constitutes maritme piracy.
Under Article 101 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it includes "any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation...against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State (and) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating (such) an act."
Usually it refers to robbery or criminal violence committed by private parties. It applies to states committing lawless acts.
UNCLOS permits interdiction at sea to prevent illegal arms and drug smuggling, the slave trade, or terrorist activities.
Verifiable proof is required. Israel has none. Inventing it doesn't wash.
Under maritime law, ships have "innocent passage" rights through international and coastal area waters. Certain restrictions apply.
UNCLOS defines "innocent passage" as expeditious, continuous passage through waters in ways not "prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security" of a coastal state.
America's Defense Department defines it as:
"The right of all ships to engage in continuous and expeditious surface passage through the territorial sea and archipelagic water of foreign coastal states in a manner not prejudicial to its peace, good order, or security."
"Passage includes stopping and anchoring, but only if incidental to ordinary navigation or necessary for force majeure (a natural or unavoidable catastrophe) or distress, or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships, or aircraft in danger of distress."
Legal interdictions may occur only within 12 nautical miles from shore. In international waters, they're prohibited.
Israel ignores international law. So does America. Both countries hype one Big Lie after another.
On Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney repeated what US officials say often. It doesn't wash. He wrongfully accused Iran of being a "major state sponsor of terrorism."
"Even as we continue efforts to resolve our concerns over Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, we will continue to stand up to Iran's support for destabilizing activities in the region, in coordination with our partners and allies, and made clear that these illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran's UN Security Council obligations," he said.
Iran responded to Tel Aviv's outrageous accusation. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed it as "failed lies." His Twitter comment said:
"Captured just in time for annual AIPAC anti-Iran campaign. Amazing coincidence! Or same failed lies."
During an official visit to Jakarta, he said:
"Netanyahu (was) in Washington...and all of a sudden as a godsend, they (allegedly) capture a ship from Iran with missiles."
"Just a coincidence? If Netanyahu is a saint and can produce miracles, I believe the Israelis themselves will be amused by that."
"So if you cannot believe in miracles by Netanyahu, the only thing that you can believe s that this is a lie. And it is a lie."
"For the arms to go through Sudan and from Sudan back to somewhere and from that somewhere to Gaza - this is more like delusional thinking rather than even serious propaganda."
Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdullahian denounced Israel's lie. He stressed how Zionist media circulate it. They do it to vilify Iran, he said.
Iran's military categorically rejected Israel's claim. It called allegations of Tehran shipping weapons to Gaza a "sheer lie."
A Hamas spokesman called it a "silly joke." Islamic Jihad denounced Israel's fabrication.
According to Gaza Ministry of Interior spokesman Islam Shahwan, Israeli lies reflect a "dangerous move" to justify its lawless seven year siege.
He urged journalists to avoid "being tricked by the Israeli narrative about capturing a ship carrying weapons to Gaza."
Israeli naval vessels blockade its coastline. Anything approaching gets interdicted. Border areas with Egypt are heavily monitored.
An unnamed Islamic Jihad official said he knows nothing about an alleged weapons shipment.
If "the information is true," he added, "it is a medal of honor to the one who sent the shipment."
Israel's latest Big Lie came at the same time as its belligerent West Bank incursions. Air strikes against Hezbollah occurred days earlier. So did others targeting Gaza.
Since January, Israel killed eight Palestinian civilians. It did so in cold blood. Children were shot in the back and killed.
Rogue states operate this way. Washington and Israel partner in each other's crimes.
On Friday, US House of Representatives members voted to expand weapons and military related technologies to Israel as America's strategic partner.
They did so 410 to one. Expect Senate rubber-stamp approval. Discussions are ongoing to increase US aid.
Israel already gets billions annually and much more. US taxpayers funds its lawlessness.
AIPAC gloated after House members voted. They "once again reaffirmed (their) commitment to an unbreakable US-Israeli relationship," it said.
Israel's killing machine got an added boost. For sure it'll take full advantage.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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