Australia today informed Israel that it was expelling a diplomat as a penalty for Israel’s role in forging Australian passports used in the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabouh. Though the government would not say who was expelled, Britain expelled Israel’s local Mossad station chief and one would assume Australia did the same.
The fact that Australia took months after the infraction to act indicates it wanted to do little more than slap Israel on the wrist. The statement by the foreign minister confirms this:
“The Government takes this step much more in sorrow than anger or retaliation,” Mr Smith said.
The problem with Australia’s wrist slap is that all of those nations whose passports were forged or whose sovereignty was violated have essentially given Israel a green light to do something like this again in future. U.S. credit cards were abused by the Israelis and two of the assassins traveled to this country after the murder, yet not a peep has come out of the Obama administration. Contrast this with the whirlwind of U.S. intelligence activity and press briefings that accompany word of Islamic terrorism on these shores. Why do we give Mossad a pass?
Israel is like a substance abuser who requires intervention to prevent self-destructive behavior. The nations of the world have basically washed their hands of Israel in this matter. The only silver lining is that Australia promised that if such acts happen again it will take stronger action:
He also said Israel should realise it is on notice that if it again fabricates Australian passports similar or stronger action would be taken.
But one has to wonder what the value of these nice sounding words is. When push comes to shove will Australia do anything different next time?
And Israel of course has learned no lesson from all of this:
When asked if Israel had acknowledged its part in the affair or had apologised, Mr Smith replied: “In terms of the substance of these matters Israel has not been drawn in those conversations or drawn on those matters.”