The storyline could easily be something straight out of a John Le CarrÃ© novel. The forged passports, the clandestine assassination in a foreign country and the sophisticated methods of first class spies in taking down the target. The January 20 assassination of Hamas strongman Mohammed Al Mabhouh is the "perfect" crime –” the man is dead, the suspects are at large, many of them still unidentified since they committed the killing under false identities and most of all, Israel can boast that its intelligence agency, the infamous Mossad cannot be undeniably linked to the crime.
But anyone who understands the workings of Israel and its long history of assassinating Palestinians both here and abroad, are convinced without a shadow of the doubt of the Mossad’s dirty fingerprints all over Al Mabhouh’s death certificate.
The details of the assassination have been divulged plentifully over the past two weeks. As many as 18 people holding foreign passports followed Al Mabhouh to his Dubai hotel, managed to enter his electronically locked door and kill him quietly with a pillow. Dubai’s police released the photos of eleven people all of whom now have arrest warrants out on them. The problem is that seven of them travelled on documents of Israelis with dual citizenship who became victims of identity fraud overnight.
Counterfeiting or stealing passports to be used in assassinations abroad is a hallmark of Israel’s death squad operations abroad. It has also gotten them in some hot water with "friendly countries" before, the most recent being Israel’s botched assassination attempt against Hamas politburo chief in exile, Khaled Meshal in Jordan in 1997. At the time, Israel was forced to apologize to Canada for two stolen Canadian passports that were used in the operation by Mossad agents.
Again, in 2004, Mossad operatives were caught trying to acquire authentic New Zealand passports and Israel found itself in an embarrassing situation once again. This time, six of the suspects were travelling on false British passports, others on Irish, German and French travel documents. The European countries involved are, naturally irate that passports from their countries were forged and used in the assassination and have requested that Israel provide clarifications of its involvement. Recent reports have also indicated that an insider may have leaked information to the assassins, further corroborating earlier reports about two Palestinian associates. However, as of now, none of the countries have blamed the Mossad outright for the operation and Israel, in customary fashion, has shirked any responsibility for Al Mabhouh’s death.
The shocking element in this spy story is not that Israel assassinated Al Mabhouh. There is a long line of Palestinians who have died at the hands of Israeli hit squads all the way from Fateh leader Khalil Al Wazir (Abu Jihad), to Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. What is so shocking is Israel’s utter arrogance in this entire affair. It is elementary-level knowledge that Israel must have had a major hand in the killing, given its accusations against Al Mabhuh, which include involvement in the death of two Israeli soldiers years ago and his current handling of alleged arms smuggling from Iran into the Gaza Strip. However, Israel has neither denied nor acknowledged involvement in the killing and is confident that it will not interfere in the friendly relations it has with Europe. "I think Britain recognizes that Israel is a responsible country and that our security activity is conducted according to very clear, cautious and responsible rules of the game," said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "Therefore we have no cause for concern."
Funny he should say that when a Haaretz article just days ago said that according to a report in the Sunday Times, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had given the green light for Al Mabhuh’s killing in early January. "The people of Israel count on you. Good luck," the premier reportedly told the agents who were simulating the killing in a Tel Aviv hotel.
In any case, the fact that Israel is so cool about the blowout from the assassination is perfect indication that it has gotten away with this before. Israel has never been penalized for the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians either here or abroad regardless of the embarrassment it causes to other countries. Dubai is a moderate Arab country with no known animosities with Israel other than the fact that it lacks any diplomatic relations with it. Hence, the need for foreign passports so the Israelis could enter the country. Britian, Canada, Germany, France and New Zealand are all countries that Israel enjoys amicable diplomatic relations with. One would think Israel would not want to rock that boat by undermining these countries’ sovereignties and tampering with their passports, especially since it has repeatedly promised in the past not to "do it again."
But here comes the overriding philosophy that Israel espouses and which the west in particular so surprisingly accepts time and again. Because it is a nation founded on guilt and on the belief that most of the world is "against them" Israel’s so-called security considerations justify any and all abominations, first and foremost murder. This is the logic that Israel used in the killing of over 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the rationale for the assassination of Abu Jihad, Sheikh Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi. This is why the Goldstone Report was trampled on by Israel and its allies and this is why Israel’s occupation of Palestine has endured for over 40 years along with all the violations this entails for the occupied people. Finally, this is Israel’s hackneyed justification for its involvement –” if proven –” in the Mabhuh killing. Israel has convinced too many nations that this tiny country, under constant threat of terrorism and surrounded by a sea of hostility and anti-Semitism, is obligated to protect its Jewish citizens in any shape or form. Obviously, this includes bombing residential areas with one-ton bombs and smothering a single Palestinian in a Dubai hotel with his fluffy, down-filled pillow.