Opinion and Editorial

Mabhouh Murder and Israel

Filed on February 27, 2010

Revelation upon revelation have only added to the complexity in the Mabhouh assassination case. Dubai Police have now named 15 additional suspects in the late January killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, taking the total to 26.

The latest developments have revealed some suspects having used forged passports that were duplicates of three Australian nationals. Australia which now joins European states having faced similar subterfuge, is highly displeased.

Allegedly, the operation was carried out by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad—something Israel has refused to comment upon, in line with its policy of ambiguity. Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, on the other hand, has actually applauded the act, saying killing terrorists—whether in Dubai or Gaza—is commendable. Moreover, she deems it ‘immoral’ to compare terrorists with those who fight terrorism. In other words, Livni is of the view that as long as Hamas officials are killed— irrespective of whether it happens in a third state with no regard of that state’s sovereignty and security considerations—is great.

All evidence clearly points towards Tel Aviv. Mabhouh, founder of Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, has long been on the hit list of Mossad for his role in the past kidnapping and killing of Israel soldiers. While other European states, ever mindful of upsetting Israel, have only called its envoys for meetings to discuss the issue, no strong action has been taken so far. The EU ambassadors protest in Abu Dhabi only occurred after the UAE Foreign Minister issued strong condemnation of the incident, vowing to bring the assassins to justice. Well, it seems that Australia has decided to accord this issue much more serious consideration than was witnessed on the European front. Not only has the Israeli ambassador been summoned to explain the use of Australian passports, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has condemned the abuse of these passports in very strong words. He has categorically said that this matter is of the deepest concern and not something the government would keep silent on. Rightly so, since the misuse of passports of friendly countries would inevitably impede relations between those involved. UAE is visibly irked and has asked the countries concerned to review passport control and immigration security. The fact that the assassins exploited nationals from these states enjoying visa waiver in UAE has lent an added dimension to the whole issue.

All said and done, UAE has proven its mettle in pursuing the case to this extent. Due credit must be given to its security infrastructure for connecting the dots and attaining conclusive evidence. The amazing thing is how the West, especially United States, has chosen to keep mum over the issue. Had it been another country, havoc would have been unleashed upon it. Should not Israel’s staunchest ally, along with others, pressure Israel to come clean in what is clearly a crime? Would it not set a precedent for others to take such illegal action against whosoever they deem a target?

Israel needs to pay, but does it have the moral courage to own up to its crime and make atonement?

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