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World Media Ignores Weapons Shipment to Hizbullah

Foreign Ministry invited dozens of ambassadors to see the weapons cache intercepted on its way to Hizbullah, but the world media wasn’t interested.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/8/2009, 6:04 PM / Last Update: 11/8/2009, 6:09 PM

Though the Foreign Ministry invited ambassadors from around the world to see the tremendous cache of arms intercepted on their way to Hizbullah last week, the world media did not take interest.

Ambassadors and diplomats from 44 countries, along with military attaches from 27 nations, were taken to the Ashdod port on Thursday to see for themselves the weapons and ammunition seized from the Antiguan ship Francop off Cyprus.

The 500 tons of Iranian weapons bound for Hizbullah that Israel intercepted was ten times more than those confiscated aboard the famous Karine-A ship several years ago – and would have been enough to keep Hizbullah fighting against Israel in a future conflict for 30-40 days. 

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, complained to the UN on Thursday about the terrorism shipment.

Yet, despite the significance of the event in terms of the worldwide struggle against terrorism, the story received barely any coverage in the world press.

“Israel did what it was supposed to do,” former IDF Spokesman Ephraim Lapid told Arutz-Sheva, “and there is no explanation as to why the news stations around the world basically ignored the story. It is very surprising that this event, which is major news item by any standard, was not appropriately covered. I have no explanation, but Israel can’t be blamed.”

Arutz-Sheva’s Uzi Baruch reports that MK Nachman Shai (Kadima), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, disagrees.  “Israel’s public relations and information efforts have apparently failed in disseminating the story of the Francop. Prime Minister Netanyahu is supposed to understand these matters, yet precisely under him, Israel continues to limp along in getting out its message.”

MK Shai has asked the Knesset committee for an urgent discussion on why Israel failed.

Yossi Levy, of the Foreign Ministry’s Israeli media department, defended the ministry in light of Shai’s criticism. “The Foreign Ministry carried out a complete, coordinated and successful campaign in order to get the information out to all the media outlets. Some of them are, not surprisingly, not interested in publicizing this important information.”

“It’s not an Israeli failure,” Levy said, “but rather those world media that chose to ignore this story deviated from all accepted standards in the world of media.”