Due to mounting evidence and a slew of bad publicity, Britain expelled an Israeli diplomat over the suspected use of a dozen fake British passports in the assassination of a leading Hamas official in Dubai.
The murder, which took place in a Dubai hotel in January, has been regarded as being carried out by Israeli government officials who wished to take out Mahmoud al-Mabhouth.
An embassy spokesperson refused to identify the diplomat, telling the Associated Press that they “can neither confirm nor deny” the expulsion.
International condemnation of Mabhouth’s assassination was immediate, and backlash–as well as rebukes–against Israeli policies and actions have grown harsher, especially among western nations.
Interpol has listed the suspected assassins as using German, British, Irish, French and Australian passports and identities to get into Dubai and kill Mabhouth. There are at least 26 suspects, according to Dubai officials, all of whom are a part of a suspected Israeli hit squad.
Dubai has also been vigilant in trying to nab the killers, going as far as releasing hotel surveillance footage showing the alleged killers following Mabhouth and a hotel concierge throughout the luxury hotel.
British officials have also said that at least 15 of the suspected killers were Israeli citizens who were dual nationals in other Western countries as well. All 15 have denied the accusations, saying their identities were stolen.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been under fire recently for not only the murder on Dubai soil, but for Jewish settlements his government approved in East Jerusalem.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband explained the reasoning behind the expulsion: “Such misuse of British passports is intolerable. The fact that this was done by a friendly country only adds insult to injury.”
Miliband continued, calling Israel’s actions in procuring the fake passports as “completely unacceptable” and that “they must stop.”
The expulsion of the Israeli diplomat, who has not been identified, is made even more significant by the fact that these actions are rarely used by allies. The last time an Israeli diplomat was expelled from Britain was in 1988.
The harsh rhetoric used recently against Israel is in sharp contrast to the normally friendly and supportive tone most western nations such as Britain and the US take towards the country.
Israel has recently been rebuked by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as the Obama administration, which hopes to come to an agreement about the East Jerusalem settlements.