The outrage in Britain that has followed the revelation that eleven Israelis, traveling under false British passports, executed a Hamas mastermind in Dubai last month, is a wonder to behold. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sputtered that Israel has questions to answer about the theft of the passports. The British foreign secretary, David Millband, has gone on record threatening to sever ties with the Mossad. Opposition leader David Cameron, together with his shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, are demanding an inquiry. And the British press is howling for retribution.
The British establishment has made it clear that it has very little interest in the maintenance of Israeli security. But does it have any real interest in the maintenance of its own? . Just this week, the second most senior justice in the country exposed the workings of Britain’s own intelligence network and its link with the Americans, when he excoriated the agency for its handling of the ex-Guantanomo inmate Binyam Mohamed, severely compromising MI5’s ability to work in concert with foreign intelligence services; Lax British immigration policies, its ludicrously benevolent welfare system and an insistence of the right of free speech for even those who preach the overthrow of the British government and the destruction of the West, has transformed London into “terrorist central” and a major node for the financing of terrorist activity world wide.
You’ll notice though that none of the British protests actually involve a denial that Mahmoud al Mabhouh was an innocent. That is because the British government is well aware that the Israelis bumped off a dangerous guy, a weapons purchaser and smuggler, whose activities have caused hundreds of Israeli deaths and injuries over the past 15 years. He trafficked in death and knew the risks of doing so.
Lets also not forget that the British government and public are no strangers to extra-judicial killings by British agents. Countless works of British fiction, from the 1840s and the Great Game onward, have been based on real life British spies knocking off villains who threaten British security in places as distant as Singapore, Kabul and Kenya.
Today, however, we live in a different world, where terrorists use technology to network with one another and share their own forms of intelligence. Hamas is a vital part of this network and no one should think for a moment that it does not have its own operatives in the U.K. supporting the financing and coordination of military operations in Gaza and Damascus. When are the British elites going to understand that this worldwide terrorist network, is poised as much at the heart of Britain as it is against the United States and Israel? Will it ever appreciate that those countries’ enemies are as much their own as any?
Mahmoud al Mahbouh stood as much a threat to British security as it does to Israel’s. Rather than lambasting that country for its impudent use of British passports, it should be expressing its gratitude, much as it should have following the Entebbe Raid in 1976 and the Iraq’s Osirak Reactor Raid in 1981. As a Western democracy, the Israelis demonstrated that they will not sit by idly, lugubriously building legal justifications for intervention, while terrorists plot and plan the murder their citizens.