Australia expels Israeli diplomat

Australia has ordered the explusion of an Isreali diplomat over the use of fake passports in the assassination of a senior Hamas commander in Dubai in January.

Australian investigators say Israel was responsible for forging four Australian passports that were used in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel.

“These investigations and advice have left the government in no doubt that Israel was responsible for the abuse and counterfeiting of these passports,” Stephen Smith, the Australian foreign minister, told Australia’s parliament on Monday.

Smitth said that the operation to kill Al-Mabhouh was not the first time Israel had forged Australian travel documents. He did not elaborate on previous incidents.

Australian investigators concluded the fake passports were the work of Mossad, Israel’s state intelligence agency.

“No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government,” the foreign minister said.

“This represents a clear affront to the security of our passport system.”

Australia and Isreal had been close allies prior to the incident.

Furore

The scandal over the use of fake passports erupted after the January 20 murder of the Hamas commander.

Police in Dubai identified dozens of people involved in the assassination, who entered the country using fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dubai police are also seeking the arrest of another British man in connection with the assassination.

Interpol is understood to have issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Lockwood, a 62 year old British national, following a request from the Dubai police.

Britian expelled an Israeli diplomat in March after also concluding that Isreal was responsible for forging 12 British passports to facilitate the killing.

In February, Avigdor Lieberman, the Isreali foreign minister, said there was no evidence to link his country to the assassination.

Ref: Al Jazeera

ANALYS: The Dubai Hit

THE TWO classic intelligence disasters occurred during World War II. In both, the intelligence agencies either provided their political bosses with faulty assessments, or the leaders ignored their accurate assessments. As far as the results are concerned, both amount to the same.

Comrade Stalin was totally surprised by the German invasion of the Soviet Union, even though the Germans needed months to assemble their huge invasion force. President Roosevelt was totally surprised by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, even though the bulk of the Japanese Navy took part in it. The failures were so fantastic, that spy aficionados had to resort to conspiracy theories to explain them. One such theory says that Stalin deliberately ignored the warnings because he intended to surprise Hitler with an attack of his own. Another theory asserts that Roosevelt practically “invited” the Japanese to attack because he was in need of a pretext to push the US into an unpopular war.

But since then, failures continued to follow each other. All Western spy agencies were totally surprised by the Khomeini revolution in Iran, the results of which are still hitting the headlines today. All of them were totally surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the defining events of the 20th century.  They were totally surprised by the fall of the Berlin wall. And all of them provided wrong information about Saddam Hussein’s imaginary nuclear bomb, which served as a pretext for the American invasion of Iraq.

* * *

AH, OUR people say, that’s what’s happening among the Goyim. Not here. Our intelligence community is like no other. The Jewish brain has invented the Mossad, which knows everything and is capable of everything. (Mossad – “institute” – is short for the “Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations”.)

Really? At the outbreak of the 1948 war, all the chiefs of our intelligence community unanimously advised David Ben-Gurion that the armies of the Arab states would not intervene. (Fortunately, Ben-Gurion rejected their assessment.) In May 1967, our entire intelligence community was totally surprised by the concentration of the Egyptian army in Sinai, the step that led to the Six-Day war. (Our intelligence chiefs were convinced that the bulk of the Egyptian army was busy in Yemen, where a civil war was raging.) The Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur, 1973, completely surprised our intelligence services, even though heaps of advance warnings were available.

The intelligence agencies were totally surprised by the first intifada, and then again by the second. They were totally surprised by the Khomeini revolution, even though (or because) they were deeply imbedded in the Shah’s regime. They were totally surprised by the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections.

The list is long and inglorious. But in one field, so they say, our Mossad performs like no other: assassinations. (Sorry, “eliminations”.)

* * *

STEVEN SPIELBERG’S movie “Munich” describes the assassination (“elimination”) of PLO officials after the massacre of the athletes at the Olympic Games. As a masterpiece of kitsch it can be compared only to the movie “Exodus”, based on Leon Uris’ kitschy book.

After the massacre (the main responsibility for which falls on the incompetent and irresponsible Bavarian police), the Mossad, on the orders of Golda Meir, killed seven PLO officials, much to the joy of the revenge-thirsty Israeli public. Almost all the victims were PLO diplomats, the civilian representatives of the organization in European capitals, who had no direct connection with violent operations. Their activities were public, they worked in regular offices and lived with their families in residential buildings. They were static targets – like the ducks in a shooting gallery.

In one of the actions – which resembled the latest affair – a Moroccan waiter was assassinated by mistake in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer. The Mossad mistook him for Ali Hassan Salameh, a senior Fatah officer who served as contact with the CIA. The Mossad agents, including a glamorous blonde (there is always a glamorous blonde) were identified, arrested and sentenced to long prison terms (but released very soon). The real Salameh was “eliminated” later on.

In 1988, five years before the Oslo agreement, Abu Jihad (Khalil al-Wazir), the No. 2 in Fatah, was assassinated in Tunis before the eyes of his wife and children. Had he not been killed, he would probably be serving today as the President of the Palestinian Authority instead of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas). He would have enjoyed the same kind of standing among his people as did Yasser Arafat – who was, most likely, killed by a poison that leaves no traces.

The fiasco that most resembles the latest action was the Mossad’s attempt on the life of Khalid Mishal, a senior Hamas leader, on orders of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Mossad agents ambushed him on a main street of Amman and sprayed a nerve toxin in his ear – that was about to kill him without leaving traces. They were caught on the spot. King Hussein, the Israeli government’s main ally in the Arab world, was livid and delivered a furious ultimatum: either Israel would immediately provide the antidote to the poison and save Mishal’s life, or the Mossad agents would be hanged. Netanyahu, as usual, caved in, Mishal was saved and the Israeli government, as a bonus, released Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the main Hamas leader, from prison. He was “eliminated” by a hellfire missile later on.

* * *

DURING THE last weeks, a deluge of words has been poured on the assassination in Dubai of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, another senior Hamas officer.

Israelis agreed from the first moment that this was a job of the Mossad. What capabilities! What talent! How did they know, long in advance, when the man would go to Dubai, what flight he would take, in what hotel he would stay! What precise planning!

The “military correspondents” and “Arab affairs correspondents” on screen were radiant. Their faces said: oh, oh, oh, if the material were not embargoed…If I could only tell you what I know…I can tell you only that the Mossad has proved again that its long arm can reach anywhere! Live in fear, oh enemies of Israel!

When the problems started to become apparent, and the photos of the assassins appeared on TV all over the world, the enthusiasm cooled, but only slightly. An old and proven Israeli method was brought into play: to take some marginal detail and discuss it passionately, ignoring the main issue. Concentrate on one particular tree and divert attention from the forest.

Really, why did the agents use the names of actual people who live in Israel and have dual nationality? Why, of all possible passports, did they use those of friendly countries? How could they be sure that the owners of these passports would not travel abroad at the critical time?

Moreover, were they not aware that Dubai was full of cameras that record every movement? Did they not foresee that the local police would produce films of the assassination in almost all its details?

But this did not arouse too much excitement in Israel. Everybody understood that the British and the Irish were obliged, pro forma, to protest, but that this was nothing but going through the motions. Behind the scenes, there are intimate connections between the Mossad and the other intelligence agencies. After some weeks, everything will be forgotten. That’s how it worked in Norway after Lillehammer, that’s how it worked in Jordan after the Mishal affair. They will protest, rebuke, and that’s that. So what is the problem?

* * *

THE PROBLEM is that the Mossad in Israel acts like an independent fiefdom that ignores the vital long-term political and strategic interests of Israel, enjoying the automatic backing of an irresponsible prime minister. It is, as the English expression goes, a “loose cannon” – the cannon of a ship of yore which has broken free of its mountings and is rolling around the deck, crushing to death any unfortunate sailor who happens to get in its way.

From the strategic point of view, the Dubai operation causes heavy damage to the government’s policy, which defines Iran’s putative nuclear bomb as an existential threat to Israel. The campaign against Iran helps it to divert the world’s attention from the ongoing occupation and settlement, and induces the US, Europe and other countries to dance to its tune.

Barack Obama is in the process of trying to set up a world-wide coalition for imposing “debilitating sanctions” on Iran. The Israeli government serves him – willingly – as a growling dog. He tells the Iranians: The Israelis are crazy. They may attack you at any moment. I am restraining them with great difficulty. But if you don’t do what I tell you, I shall let go of the leash and may Allah have mercy on your soul!

Dubai, a Gulf country facing Iran, is an important component of this coalition. It is an ally of Israel, much like Egypt and Jordan. And here comes the same Israeli government and embarrasses it, humiliates it, arousing among the Arab masses the suspicion that Dubai is collaborating with the Mossad.

In the past we have embarrassed Norway, then we infuriated Jordan, now we humiliate Dubai. Is that wise?  Ask Meir Dagan, who Netanyahu has just granted an almost unprecedented eighth year in office as chief of the Mossad.

* * *

PERHAPS THE impact of the operation on Israel standing in the world is even more significant.

Once upon a time it was possible to belittle this aspect. Let the Goyim say what they want. But since the Molten Lead operation, Israel has become more conscious of its far-reaching implications. The verdict of Judge Goldstone, the echoes of the antics of Avigdor Lieberman, the growing world-wide campaign for boycotting Israel – all these tend to suggest that Thomas Jefferson was not talking through his hat when he said that no nation can afford to ignore the opinion of mankind.

The Dubai affair is reinforcing the image of Israel as a bully state, a rogue nation that treats world public opinion with contempt, a country that conducts gang warfare, that sends mafia-like death squads abroad, a pariah nation to be avoided by right-minded people.

Was this worthwhile?

REF: Counterpunch

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Dubai, jewel in Israel’s sales crown

With the exception of Egypt, all Arab states officially boycott Israel, blacklist Israeli companies and ban imports of Israeli products. The same countries frequently lead the voices calling for sanctions against Israel. But sometimes life gets in the way.

Just a few weeks after the world financial crisis broke, a super-luxury hotel, the Atlantis, opened its doors in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The French chatter website LePost.fr of 21 November 2008 trumpeted the headline: “2000 stars at the inauguration of Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel”. It wrote:

“Dubai, Dubai, Dubai! Arab princes, flying carpets, oil, dollars… and the Atlantis Hotel! An extraordinary palace, which cost more than $1.9bn to create, celebrated its opening yesterday in high style.

“This little junket cost a trifling $38m! That’s what it took to tell the entire world about the arrival of a luxury hotel which sees itself as the planet’s most incredible palace, with its giant in-house aquarium…

“The Atlantis is at the heart of Dubai’s Palm Island, an artificial island built in the shape of a palm tree. The world’s greatest architects and designers worked on the Pharaonic project.”

Like the hotel itself, the event bore all the hallmarks of mad money climaxing a spendthrift era. You need only to walk down its vast corridors, as I did earlier this month, to realise just how foolish an exercise this is, what bad taste it represents, and of course that it’s very empty. The expected tourists vanished with the crisis.

The corridors bulge with luxury boutiques, the sort of shops which sell priceless clothes and diamond jewels. One of them is called Levant. Its display cases promote Leviev diamonds.

But just who is Leviev? Abe Hayeem, who is from Bombay, of Iraqi Jewish origin, knows. He wrote an article headlined “Boycott this Israeli settlement builder” in The Guardian of 28 April 2009. Hayeem points out that the British Foreign Office decided to cancel its rental contract for the British Embassy in Tel Aviv because the building was owned by Leviev.

Far from only selling diamonds, Leviev is busy inside the occupied territories, principally constructing a road which links the illegal settler colony of Zufim, which he owns, to Israel – part of the ongoing process of confiscating Palestinian land. His company is also active in Bil’in where, on 17 April, the Israeli army killed a peaceful protestor, Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 29. This same company now has two boutique outlets in Dubai.

Their presence in the UAE has raised eyebrows. On 30 April 2008 an article by Abbas al-Lawati in Gulf News, the English-language daily, headed “Israeli jeweller has no trade licence to open shop in Dubai”, quoted a top official denying that the UAE had ever granted Leviev a licence and saying that if an application came it would be rejected.

Gulf News followed up the story on several occasions, including one report of demos against Leviev, “Call to boycott Israeli jeweller” on 14 December 2008, also by al-Lawati.

During the Dubai Arab Media Forum meeting I attended in May I raised the issue with journalists from various Arabic-language dailies. They told me they were not allowed to reply to such questions.

At a time when Israel violates with impunity all the UN Security Council resolutions, a growing movement calls for sanctions, boycotts and disinvestment (withdrawing overseas investment from Israel and the occupied territories). It’s similar to the French campaign against Alstom and Veolia for their role in a tram project in occupied Jerusalem “Tramway à Jérusalem, mensonge à Paris”, 24 October 2007. It’s astounding, in the circumstances, that Arab countries collaborate with the very same companies which operate in the occupied territories.

France’s trade minister Christine Lagarde visited Saudi Arabia in mid-May principally to promote the bid by Alstom and the SNCF for a TGV-type fast rail link between Mecca and Media. One must hope that the Saudi authorities make it a condition of any agreement that Alstom backs out of the Jerusalem tram project.

Ref: Le MOnde

Is Dubai helping ethnic cleansing in Palestine?

The government of Dubai recently allowed a major bankroller of Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank to open at least two Jewelry stores in the Gulf emirate.
According to reliable sources in the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a key member-state, Israeli billionaire and diamond magnate Lev Leviev is preparing to open two large jewelry stores in Dubai, a world’s hub of Jewelry trading.

The first store will be opened soon at the Burj Dubai Mall (Dubai Mall Tower) while a second store is slated to be opened later this year in the new Atlantis Hotel on the Jumeirah Palm Island.
Leviev has already opened one store in Dubai in March, 2008, in the lobby of al-Qasr Hotel on Madinat Jumeirah.
The Dubai authorities were initially reluctant to grant the Israeli billionaire a license to do business in the oil-rich emirate. However, Leviev reportedly successfully lobbied “North American and European connections” to convince Dubai officials to reconsider their objections.

Leviev’s companies, including Africa-Israel and Leader Management & Development as well as several other subsidiaries, have been quite active in displacing Palestinian villagers from their homes and land in several parts of the West Bank.

The two firms have built hundreds of settler units in at least five Jewish settlements constructed on land illegally seized from its Arab proprietors.
In recent years, a company called Leader belonging to Leviev built the settlement of Zufim on private Arab land seized from the village of Jayyous. Danya Cebus, a subsidiary of the Leviev-owned company Africa-Israel has built hundreds of settler units on land stolen from the village of Bilin. Numerous additional settler units were built in the two large settlements of Ma’ali Adomim, a few kilometers east of Jerusalem, and Har Homa, near the predominantly Christian Arab town of Beit Sahur.

Israel hopes that these settlements will cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, thus making the Palestinian dream of making the city the future capital of a prospective Palestinian state utterly unrealistic and outright impossible.
In addition to his intensive involvement in Jewish settlement expansion, including colonies defined by the inherently unjust Israeli justice system as “manifestly illegal,” Leviev has donated undisclosed but reportedly large sums of money to the Land Redemption Fund, a land-grabbing organization affiliated with Gush Emunim, the ideological group behind Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, the Land Redemption Fund uses fraud and strong-arm tactics to seize land from Palestinians for settlement expansion.

Last year the Israeli group, Peace Now, and other settlement-watch groups, discovered that hundreds of settler units built in the settlement of Matityahu in the Salfit region, in the central West Bank, were actually built on private Palestinian land seized at gun point from its legal and rightful Palestinian owners.
However, despite the discovery, the Israeli government refused to dismantle the illegal settler units, with one Israeli official saying that “this problem will be discussed with the Palestinian Authority in the context of final-status talks.”

Leviev’s companies are actually destroying the lives of thousands of Palestinians by narrowing their horizons and dispossessing them of their livelihoods.

Abdullah Abu Rahma from the village of Bilin and Sharif Omar from Jayyous told representative of the human rights group Adalah-NY (www.adalahny.org ), which monitors Israeli theft Palestinian land, that “Leviev’s companies are destroying the olive groves and farms that have sustained our villages for centuries.”

“We call on people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied against apartheid South Africa.”

The mayor of Jayyous, which suffered incalculable losses due to Leviev’s destructive rampage in the northern West Bank, told this reporter that “Leveiv is indulging in ethnic cleansing against our community and our farmers.”

“He is building settlements at our expense; he is destroying our land, our farms, and our orchards, and at the same time he is opening business in Dubai in order to finance his crimes against our people. Shame on Dubai and its government.”

Some Jewish organizations opposed to the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid have also called on the countries of the world to boycott Israeli businesses and firms involved in dispossessing Palestinians of their land.
“We call on the government and people of the United Arab Emirates to join the growing international campaign to boycott Lev Leviev’s companies due to their construction of Israeli colonial settlements,” declared Daniel Lang-Levitsky of Jews Against the Occupation-NYC.

“A major Israeli violator of Palestinian rights and international law should not be opening jewelry stores in Dubai,” said Issa Ayoub, a spokesperson for the Adalah-NY group. Adalah-NY organized eight boycott protests outside Leviev’s new Madison Avenue Jewelry store in New York City over the last five months.

The Palestinian Authority has refused to comment on the Dubai government decision to allow the settler bankroller Leviev to open business ventures in the oil-rich emirate.

One Palestinian official contacted by telephone said “I don’t know anything about this affair and I have not heard of Leviev.”

A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said “the Palestinian people were feeling embittered and betrayed by this scandalous behavior on the part of the Dubai government.”

“We were hoping that Dubai would stand with us against the genocidal Israeli regime and its unrelenting efforts to ethnically cleanse our people from their ancestral homeland. We had never imagined that a day would come when we had to appeal to an Arab country to refrain from harming us and undermining our cause.”

Ref: From Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem