Australia sends police to Israel over Dubai assassination
Australian police arrived in Israel on Wednesday to investigate identity theft of dual nationals in connection with the Dubai assassination widely blamed on Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. The use of forged passports has provoked a stern response, but is unlikely to jeopardize relations.
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The team of Australian Federal Police officers in Israel will meet with three Israeli-Australian nationals whose identities were used in the forged passports with which the assassins entered the United Arab Emirates. Australia has said it expects full cooperation from Israeli authorities.Skip to next paragraph
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While Britain has also sent police to Israel to meet with dual nationals whose names matched those appearing in the fake British passports, Australia’s response has been among the most outspoken of the countries affected. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith summoned the Israeli ambassador to warn him that if Israel was involved in the passport fraud, Australia “would not regard that as the act of a friend.”
Mr. Rudd said the matter was “of the deepest concern” and vowed that authorities would get to the bottom of it. Israel has said there is no proof that Mossad carried out the murder of Mr. Mabhouh in his hotel room and has refused to confirm or deny involvement.
Mr. Rudd, who has to call an election by the end of this year, will be vying for Jewish votes with the opposition Liberal-National Party coalition. Members of the Jewish community make significant donations to the major parties, including Rudd's Australian Labor Party.
“Rudd will throw a tantrum and then move on. It won’t seriously impair ties,” says Michael McKinley, a senior lecturer in international relations at the ANU.
“If you look at the countries [involved in the passport scam], they’re all friends of Israel,” he adds. “Israel knows its friends will get annoyed but will get over it. It has been cynical in a very calculated way.”