Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Britain expels Israeli diplomat
The BBC reports:
The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over 12 forged British passports used in the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the Commons there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for the passport "misuse".
He said: "The government takes this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable."
Mr Milband said it was "highly likely" the Israeli secret service Mossad was involved and the fact that Israel was a close ally added "insult to injury".
He said he had evidence that genuine passports belonging to UK citizens had been copied after being handed over for inspection to "individuals linked to Israel".
"Given that this was a very sophisticated operation, in which high-quality forgeries were made, the government judges it is highly likely that the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service," he said.
"We have concluded that there are compelling reasons to believe Israel was responsible for the misuse of the British passports."
Former Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell told the BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "It is very serious indeed... there can't be a greater violation of trust for one ally to abuse the passports of another ally."
Quite. When the news of this scandal first emerged, there were some, like Melanie Phillips, who tried to convince us that Israel may not have been responsible. But the efforts were feeble, and now surely no one has any doubts as to who was behind the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
You can read Jeremy Bowen's take on the significance of today's action, here.