The Hamas terrorist leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in Dubai earlier this year, almost certainly by Mossad agents. They used Australian, British, French and Irish passports.
First to the morality of the operation. Mabhouh was a leader of Hamas, which is pledged to Israel's violent destruction. He had much innocent blood on his hands. His assassination is morally exactly the same as when an Australian SAS unit targets an al-Qa'ida leader for attack in Afghanistan, as the SAS has often done. It is an even closer parallel to US drones hitting a terrorist in a border area of Pakistan. US President Barack Obama has decided, with Australian support, that merely fleeing the conflict zone of Afghanistan to the haven of Pakistan will not prevent an al-Qa'ida or Taliban terrorist being killed by US forces. So any Canberra moral outrage at the Israeli operation, which Foreign Minister Stephen Smith describes without qualification, or sophistication, as murder, is hypocritical and confected. Objecting to the misuse of Australian passports is entirely reasonable. But the manner in which the Rudd government has effected the expulsion demonstrates cynicism and short-term political opportunism.
When the passport misuse was first revealed in February, the Rudd government made a great song and dance about it. Emotions ran high. The government in effect sooled the Australian media on to savage Israel. It made sure there were cameras outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when the Israeli ambassador, Yuval Rotem, was summoned for a ritual dressing down.
The long delay of three months with nothing happening, and the deliberate resumption of diplomatic dialogue, led the Israelis, and Israel's friends in Australia, to believe the government was going low key. Then, all of a sudden, some internal dynamic changed and a couple of weeks ago, the government sent ASIO director David Irvine to Israel. Irvine is an official of the highest possible quality. But his trip, and the fact that Smith this week publicised it, represents an overt politicisation of ASIO by the government. The Irvine trip, which could produce nothing more than the AFP trip, gave the government cover for the expulsion. The manner and timing of the expulsion reflect very poorly on Rudd.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Expelling Israeli diplomat was a confected, self-serving exercise
Greg Sheridan:Expelling Israeli diplomat was a confected, self-serving exercise
Posted by Wilbur Post at 8:30 am