By way of deception

Israel is fully signed up to the hypocrisy and double standards of western imperialism, writes Tony Greenstein

Just suppose that Syria or Iran had sent a team of assassins on a mission to the Netherlands in order to kill a senior Israeli army officer. Members of the team had, in order to allay suspicions, used forged British, Irish and American passports to carry out this deed. Now imagine the reaction.

Clearly this would prove that both Syria and Iran are terrorist states. The forging of other states’ passports would show that they have no respect for the sovereignty of others or the international rule of law. It would be necessary to consider sanctions against these rogue states and possibly a cruise missile strike against their capitals. A state that effectively steals the identity of foreign residents who live within its borders has breached the most basic of diplomatic conventions.

But, of course, it was not Syria or Iran, but Israel, which carried out the assassination and in any case it happened not in Europe, but in an Arab country. There is therefore no question of sanctions, let alone a military strike.

Fast-forward to British foreign secretary David Miliband, being interviewed last weekend. No, he did not want to make a comment. An inquiry was underway and he really did not wish to engage in hypothetical speculation. Could this be the same Miliband who supported the war in Iraq and sanctions against Iran, both of which were based on unproven assertions and false hypotheses? Because if there is one thing that Miliband, the British government’s foremost exponent of torture, understands, it is that you do not punish your friends. And Israel is certainly a friend, even if it sometimes behaves like an unruly teenager.

With the exception of Miliband, there is a unanimity of opinion that the operation to murder Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas commander, was carried out by Israel’s external intelligence agency, Mossad, whose motto is ‘By way of deception shalt thou wage war’. The six British passports which were forged correlate with British citizens living in Israel. Whether they knew of what was happening and ‘loaned’ their passports for the purposes of copying or are wholly innocent is immaterial - the finger is clearly pointed at Israel. And, whilst the Palestinian Authority has a clear interest in the assassination of Hamas operatives, it is only Israel that has the capacity to carry out such an operation.

Miliband’s prevarications match his record over British intelligence collaboration with United States torture: of course we oppose it, but we are also opposed to anything being revealed about our collusion in the matter. The reality is that Israel has long had a green light to do this type of operation - with a rap across the knuckles being the only ‘reprisal’ (when its agents make a mess of things).

Mabhouh was, by all accounts, heavily involved in the supply and delivery of Iranian weaponry to Hamas. But the story does not end there. In the article, ‘Hamas official: PA deeply involved in Mabhouh hit’, Israel’s Yediot Aharanot reports that the quisling Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and in particular its chief of security, Mohammad Dahlan, were also heavily involved in providing logistical support for the operation.[1] Anwar Shheibar and Ahmad Hasnain, two members of the Fatah security forces in Gaza, have been deported from Jordan to Dubai because of their alleged involvement.

The operation was clearly well prepared, as a European headquarters in Vienna was specially set up to coordinate matters. It has also been reported that Nahro Massoud, a member of Hamas, has been arrested in Damascus in relation to the killing and the fear must be that the Hamas leadership is also heavily infiltrated.[2]

Of course, as Sinn Féin demonstrated with the revelations in 2003 that Alfredo Scappaticci (Steak Knife), head of its own counter-intelligence operation, was himself a British operative, none of this is new. Indeed, given the covert and secretive ways of the military wings of national liberation movements, it is probably inevitable. Even the Bolsheviks were not immune to this kind of operation.

The enemies of our rulers are expected to play by the book and respect the international conventions ‘we’ have drawn up. The west, however, is allowed to honour those very same conventions in the breach. And Israel? Well, it is fully signed up to the hypocrisy and double standards of western imperialism.


  1. www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3851209,00.html See also warincontext.org/2010/02/18/the-dahlan-connection ; and gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/more-surprises-in-al-mabhouh-case-1.585279
  2. The Guardian February 17.