Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Britain Expels Israeli Diplomat as AIPAC Insists On Preferential Treatment for Israel.

Britain has expelled an Israeli Mossad official whilst laying out what it regards as "compelling reasons" for believing that Israel was responsible for the copying of British passports, which were used by the killers of a Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The name of the official was not published. British officials said the diplomat had been asked to leave because of their position at the embassy and was not being accused of direct involvement in the falsification of British passports. The Guardian understands the official is a senior Mossad agent.

Tonight the Foreign Office warned British travellers to try to avoid entrusting their passports to Israeli officials.

British sources said there was evidence that the 12 British victims of stolen identity had had their passports temporarily taken away either by Israeli immigration officers or other officials. Clones of those passports were subsequently used by some of the large team sent to kill Mabhouh.

"They found no link to any other country," Miliband said. Without mentioning the Mossad by name, he added that "the government judges it is highly likely that the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service".

It really is an extraordinary thing for an ally to do. The reason for the Israeli officials expulsion is nothing to do with the murder, and everything to do with the falsification of British passports and the use of genuine British people's identities in the facility of a murder.

Nor is this the first time that the Israelis have done such a thing, which is why this action is now being taken.
Miliband said that he had handed his counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, a letter seeking assurances that Israel would never again "misuse" British passports. Israel gave similar assurances following an incident in 1986.
This can't possibly help Netanyahu as he meets Obama for the first time since Joe Biden's visit to Israel was derailed by the controversial settlement announcement in East Jerusalem. One gets the feeling that Israel is now operating well outside international norms when she has so recently been castigated by two of her strongest allies.
"Such misuse of British passports is intolerable," Miliband said. "It presents a hazard for the safety of British nationals in the region. It also represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK, only adds insult to injury. No country or government could stand by in such a situation."
And all of this is taking place at the very moment when AIPAC are meeting, setting out their agenda and the three things they most want from the White House.

Glenn Greenwald on the "hopes" that these costs "will be substantially borne by American taxpayers" :
Those would be the same "American taxpayers" who are now being told that they have to suffer cuts in Medicare and Social Security because of budgetary constraints, who are watching as the most basic social services (the hallmark of being a developed country) are being rapidly abolished (from the 12th Grade to basic care for children, the infirm and elderly), and are burdened with a national debt so large that America's bond ratings are being degraded by the minute. Why should those same American taxpayers bear the enormous costs of Israel's military purchases (as Israel enjoys booming economic growth)? Especially if the issue is presented as cleanly and honestly as Scherer did here, and especially if Israel continues to extend its proverbial middle finger to even the most basic U.S. requests that it cease activities that harm American interests, how much longer can this absurdity be sustained?
Greenwald is right to label this an absurdity. Israel is now acting with such open contempt of international norms that two of it's strongest allies have recently publicly condemned it. And the reaction of AIPAC has been to urge that future disagreements should never be publicly aired and a request that American taxpayers continue to bear the cost of Israel's military purchases.

On what planet is that a sane reaction to what has occurred recently?


The Israeli reaction to the expulsion:
Israel said tonight it regretted Britain's decision to expel a diplomat over the forged passports used in the Dubai assassination, while several Israeli MPs voiced angry criticism. "We hold a number of different and sensitive dialogues with them, and regret the British decision," said Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister. "We have never been given proof that Israel was involved in this affair."

Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israel's public security minister and a member of the rightwing Yisrael Beitenu party, said that Britain had made "the wrong decision".

Aryeh Eldad, a member of the Knesset, said that Israel should expel someone in return. "The natural reaction should be to expel one of the senior diplomats in the British embassy, maybe the military attache or someone on his level," the member of the National Union party said.
"I think [the] British are behaving hypocritically and I don't want to offend dogs on this issue, since some dogs are utterly loyal, who are they to judge us on the war on terror?"

They simply don't get how offensive it is to misuse the passports of the citizens of an ally to facilitate murder.


nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney said...

Soon the whole world will know the five dancing Israelis arrested in NYC on 9/11.

Kel said...

I remember reading about that at the time. However, we can't take that as in any way indicative of Israeli society as whole. Every culture has it's nut cases. And, on the whole, Israeli society appear much more open to beginning peace negotiations and bringing an end to settlement building than their politicians do.