‘UK demands Israel pledge on passports’

J'lem must reportedly vow not to use UK papers before replacing embassy worker.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 25, 2010 08:57
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on a visit to H

lieberman solemn 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Britain will not allow Israel to replace an embassy worker expelled from London over the forgery of UK passports allegedly used in the assassination of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Independent reported Thursday, unless Jerusalem pledges never to forge British documents for Mossad operations.

British diplomatic officials were quoted by the paper as saying that "the situation is not negotiable."

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UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, following the conclusion of the British investigation of the matter, told Parliament on Monday that “we have concluded that there are compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of the British passports.”

Foreign Minister Lieberman, however, stressed that "we received no proof of Israeli involvement in the affair."

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Miliband, according to the Independent, wants Lieberman to provide public assurances that Israeli will not use fake British documents for clandestine operations.

The paper assessed it was unlikely that Israel would accept the British terms for replacing the embassy worker, claimed to be a Mossad station chief, since such a pledge by Jerusalem would serve as an admission that Israel was behind Mabhouh's killing in Dubai in January.

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"I don't know why we are assuming that Israel, or the Mossad, used those passports," Lieberman said last month,  but did not deny involvement outright, saying Israel rightly maintained a policy of ambiguity where security operations were concerned.

"Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies," he said. "There is no reason for Israel to change this policy."

On Wednesday, an Israeli government official confirmed reports that the expelled official would be replaced, adding that close intelligence coordination between the two countries was in the interests of both London and Jerusalem.

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