Brits to do away with passport services in Tel Aviv

UK embassy denies decision has anything to do with Dubai.

passports 311 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
passports 311
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The bad news is that as of May 3, British citizens will no longer be able to renew their British passports in Israel. The good news is that this has nothing to do with Dubai, the Mossad, or faked passports of dual Israeli-British citizens – at least according to the British Embassy.
Embassy spokesman Rafi Shamir said Monday that in line with a new British policy of issuing new passports from various regional centers, rather than from individual countries around the world, from May 3, new British passports would be processed through Paris and not Tel Aviv.
Shamir denied that this change had anything to do with the brouhaha over the passports allegedly used by a hit squad to kill Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January; rather, he said, it was part of a global policy to streamline the issuing of new passports to reduce cost and improve security.
Six fraudulent British passports, using the identities of British-Israeli citizens, were allegedly used in the Mabhouh hit.
According to the new British plan, people requesting a new passport will pay for it over the Internet and receive the document via courier. The new process is expected to add slightly to the processing time, which is currently about two weeks, and add a shipping cost. Further details will be provided in the near future on the British Embassy Web site.
This new system will be in effect for British citizens worldwide, withthe embassy in Washington responsible for issuing passports for all ofNorth America, and the embassy in Wellington responsible for all ofAustralasia.
Up until May 3, Shamir said, passports will continue to be issued fromTel Aviv. Eventually, he added, the UK hopes to do away with even theregional processing centers such as Paris, Washington and Wellington,and issue all passports directly from London.