Israeli officials and MKs sharply criticized the announced intention of the UK government to expel an unnamed Israeli diplomat
in response to its passports being used in the Dubai assassination of senior Hamas arms trafficker Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
"I think [the] British are behaving hypocritically and I don't want to offend dogs on this issue, since some dogs are utterly loyal," MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) told Sky News. "Who are they to judge us on the war on terror?"
Eldad added that Israel's "natural reaction should be to expel one of the senior diplomats in the British Embassy, maybe the military attache or someone on his level."
Eldad's party colleague, MK Michael Ben-Ari, responded: "The British may be dogs, but they are not loyal to us, but rather to an anti-Semitic system, and Israeli diplomacy partially plays into their hands. This is anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism".
In contrast, Foreign Affairs and Defense committee chairman MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) recommended not to respond to the crisis with Britain. "I believe keeping silent was a good policy at the height of the Dubai crisis, and certainly it is now, when it is nearly behind us."
Years ago, he said, Israel "adopted a policy of not responding to allegations in these areas." He added that such opportunities are exploited to "make baseless charges against Israel." Sky News also reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry would not comment on the issue.
According to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, "The
British government made the wrong decision. I am surprised by this
report and do not know who the diplomat to be expelled is."
Aharonovitch was quoted by Channel 2 as saying that "The government has
made legal provisions, involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
other ministries, for the eventuality that Israeli diplomats or
military personnel would be expelled from friendly countries. Such
matters should be discussed between governments."
The British commission investigating the alleged passport misuse is
expected to announce that the Mossad's complicity cannot be proven
beyond reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, Channel 2 reported that senior
British officials believe the expulsion will not be sufficient to
punish Israel over the Dubai incident.
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