Was it really so shocking that at least seven of the 11 members of the hit squad identified by Dubai Police have the same names as olim, six of them from Britain?
Although it is undoubtedly awful for the olim involved, if you read their horrified responses to the alleged identity theft, you cannot help but see a pattern.
They all express outright indignation at their names being used by hit men (and at least one woman). They all say the photographs of the suspects bear no resemblance to them. And they all emphatically deny any knowledge of the Dubai mission.
Of course, it is possible that their identities were appropriated without their knowledge. But what intelligence agency could be so stupid?
If their IDs were hijacked by such an agency, and fake European passports were issued in their names, they really should press charges. Because from now on, any trip they take abroad – especially to the UK – will put them at risk of arrest, or at the very least interrogation by the authorities of their country of destination.
Britain has already launched an investigation into the possible identity theft of several of its citizens.
It is worthy of note that the Mossad was established in 1938 as a clandestine Zionist organization to defy the immigration quota system and bring Jews to Palestine during the British Mandate.
Hamas has squarely blamed the Mossad for the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his luxury hotel room on January 20, threatening revenge against Israel. But it has provided no satisfactory explanation about what he was doing in Dubai alone, and why he had no security guards.
At least one former agent has remarked that the “Mossad-style execution” bore a striking resemblance to previous operations.
But except for the smiles of satisfaction in the cabinet meeting that followed the hit, there has been no official reaction from Israel.
Certainly, no one here shed a tear for Mahbouh, a founder of Hamas’s military wing who is held responsible for a spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the kidnapping and killing of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon in 1989.
Israel is a small place, and I have spoken to several people who say the photographs of the suspects resemble people they know.
According to reports from Dubai, the sensational video taken in the hotel that was released by police on Monday showed the hit team wearing obvious disguises, including wigs and beards. At least two of them were seen in tennis togs, and it is quite ironic that the news of their “identities” broke this week, during the Dubai Tennis Championships.
If the Mossad did orchestrate the operation, it wouldn’t be the first time it has been left with egg on its face. But ultimately, the mission was a success, and the hit squad presumably managed to get out of Dubai safely.
So was the Mossad really behind the Dubai hit? Well, as the old line goes, If I told you, I’d have to kill you.