The Jerusalem Post is defiantly sarcastic in its response to indignation over the presumptive Mossad use of forged passports.
The pigheaded refusal to acknowledge that sometimes the ends justify the means reflects Europe’s moral impoverishment.
Dahu Khalfan Tamim now has a world-class reputation for detective work. The head of the Dubai police swiftly determined that Hamasâ€™s Mahmoud Mabhouh did not die of natural causes at the five-star Bustan Rotana Hotel on Jan. 20. He was assassinated.
Letâ€™s for the sake of argument grant that Israel did away with Mabhouh; that he was not killed by Iran or over some intra-Palestinian dispute, and that clues pointing to Israeli culpability are genuine.
Mabhouh certainly deserved to be assassinated by Israel. Hamas declared war on Israel. And he co-founded its military wing and was personally involved in the (separate) 1989 killings of IDF soldiers Ilan Saâ€™adon and Avi Sasportas.
Mabhouh was a key link in the unlawful syndicate which delivers Iranian weapons to Gaza. He was apparently tasked with importing an arsenal that would make life hellish for Israelis living in metropolitan Tel Aviv. He was, perhaps, Hamasâ€™s equivalent to Hizbullahâ€™s Imad Mughniyeh, whose car blew up in Damascus two years ago.
You can tell a great deal about the moral compass and political leanings of a society by observing its reaction to the Mabhouh liquidation.
There is unease in Europe because the purported assassins identified by Dubai were travelling under forged French, German, Irish and British passports; and identities of Israelis with dual-citizenship were utilized.
Even The Times of London, whose editorial page has been sympathetic toward Israel, expressed chagrin over the affair, saying this country had shown poor regard for the â€œfuture security of British passport holders overseas.â€ Frankly, there is little reason to think that the tradecraft employed in this assassination â€“ which we will not second guess at this stage â€“ jeopardizes anyone.
Actually, what troubles us is the question of whose passport Mabhouh was traveling under and why he was allowed to enter neutral Dubai on gun-running business.
Of course, thatâ€™s not how the British see it. The BBCâ€™s Jeremy Bowen warned that if Israel had used British passports for â€œnefariousâ€ purposes â€“ meaning sending Mabhouh to his Maker â€“ Bowen expected, or would it be more accurate to say, hoped for, â€œa crisisâ€ in relations betweenLondon and Jerusalem.
The Guardian quoted a Foreign Office mandarin as gloating: â€œRelations were in the freezer before this. They are in the deep freeze now.â€ The paper then grumbled about the British governmentâ€™s â€œsupineâ€ response to the assassination, editorializing against the governmentâ€™s proposal to lift the threat of lawfare. The Guardian wants visiting Israeli ministers to continue to worry about facing Palestinian-inspired â€œwar crimesâ€ charges.
With the British media delighting in the assassination-passport kerfuffle â€“ a Daily Mail headline screamed: â€œDragged into a Mossad murder plotâ€ â€“ Menzies Campell, a routinely anti-Israel elder of the Liberal Democrats, declared that â€œIsrael has some explaining to do.â€
An anyway beleaguered Prime Minister Gordon Brown intoned: â€œWe have got to carry out a full investigation into this. The British passport is an important document that has got to be held with care.â€ Sentiments echoed by Opposition Leader David Cameron. …
Perhaps the shrill reaction in some (though certainly not all) British quarters is not rooted purely in anti-Israelism. Chances are that at least parts of the British intelligentsia and media would have reacted similarly if the man in that hotel room had been Osama bin Laden… or Adolf Eichmann.
One has to admire especially the delightfullly humorous, cat-ate-the-canary “Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Israel did away with Mabhouh” line. I bet that champagne corks are popping still in secluded rest and recreation facilities used by Mossad operatives obliged by circumstances to remain in hiding and out of the public eye.
Of course, the Jerusalem Post is perfectly correct. The British and European press ought to be editorializing piously about how naughty people who traffic in weapons used to attack innocent civilians need to expect to come to premature ends at the hands of persons unknown, instead of striking poses of feigned indignation over the profaned sanctity of travel identification documents.