The Foreign Office has just added this official warning on its site for visitors who wish to travel to Israel:
“UK passport holders should be aware of a recent Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation into the misuse of UK passports in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai on 19 January 2010. The SOCA investigation found circumstantial evidence of Israeli involvement in the fraudulent use of British passports. This has raised the possibility that your passport details could be captured for improper uses while your passport is out of your control. The risk applies in particular to passports without biometric security features. We recommend that you only hand your passport over to third parties including Israeli officials when absolutely necessary.”
David Miliband, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, made a statement that an Israeli diplomat will be expelled from the UK, eventhough this had been on the BBC website since this morning implying a Foreign Office leak to the BBC.
But all such statements should first of all be made to us, the British public, via our elected MPs, and not to the unelected BBC.
Miliband would not name the Israel diplomat except to say that he or she had been picked by the Foreign Office which seems to imply that this person is directly responsible for the faking of the passports that allowed for the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
There was agreement with Miliband’s action by both William Hague (Cons. Shadow Foreign Secretray) and Ed Davey (LibDem. Shadow Foreign Secretary).
At no time was a specific allegation made by these three that Israel carried out the Dubai assassination.
Then we had the MPs who were there specifically, in a relatively empty House of Commons, to get their prime TV time at the expense of Israel:
Gerald Kaufman (Labour) spoke of Israel’s corrupt government and Israel’s corrupt Ben Gurion airport (although, hilariously, Julian Lewis (Cons.) said it was highly unlikely that Israel would clone Kaufman’s passport.)
Mark Durkan (SDLP) was unhappy with Miliband’s use of the term “alleged murder”.
Angus MacNeil (SNP) demanded that Israel apologises.
Ming Campbell (LibDem) spoke of the “killing” in Dubai.
Others also spoke and generally expressed the sentiment that this assassination was “murder” and should be tried accordingly as should the charge of fraud for cloning the passports.
It is a sad state of affairs that while our soldiers are attempting to kill terrorists in Afghanistan to try to make us safe on Britain’s streets Israel is condemned and punished for trying to do that for its own citizens.
But this is not about the killing or the passports, it is about the fact that British passports were used. Miliband said that of all the cloned passports used for the assassination the highest number were British. Hence the Foreign Office warning above.
Presumably, there would therefore have been no such outcry had none of the passports had been British.
But without such a cloning al-Mabhouh would still be alive today planning more atrocities against Israel’s civilians. And it is highly unlikely that Mossad, if it was Mossad, would clone British passports in the future after the current uproar.
In addition in the House today there was no criticism of al-Mabhouh or Dubai, which let al-Mabhouh come and go on many a false passport. In fact Miliband said he would continue to support Dubai in its investigation!
Not only has Israel lost a diplomat but tourism to Israel will now suffer due to this warning.
More than that, yet again, our Parliament has been demeaned by the sight of Israel-bashing MPs having an opportunity to paint a grotesque portrait of Israel while going unchallenged even by the likes of Miliband, Hague and Davey.