Only one group could be behind the latest hit -- the Irish Jews

February 24, 2010

* Revealed: Son of Hamas founder was top Israeli agent; he prevented dozens of suicide bombings and saved hundreds of Israeli lives.

ON DUBAI:

* Tom Gross: The Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya TV networks report the latest from the Dubai authorities: They have “discovered” 15 more people supposedly involved in the plot, bringing the total to 26. They have arrested several people, all Arabs, no Israelis. Three spies supposedly escaped to… Iran. Are the Dubai authorities making all this up?

* Gerald Steinberg: “The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope of justice … Cases involving Muslim terrorists, supported by Iran, would never be pursued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or raised in the framework of the United Nations. It is equally hard to imagine Interpol issuing arrest warrants in response to Israeli requests.”

* Michael J. Totten: “Mabhouh was a terrorist commander on a mission to acquire Iranian weapons for use against civilians. He was a combatant. Unlike his victims, he was fair game. In Dubai, he was taken out quietly without harming any of the civilians around him. If only Israel could fight all its battles this way. It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare.”

* Ian O’Doherty: “The widespread belief that it was Mossad behind the operation has led to an unprecedented orgy of Israel-bashing, with the hoary old arguments about the only democracy in the region being a ‘rogue’ state or, even more inaccurately an ‘apartheid’ state – a disgusting allegation at the best of times, particularly when you consider that Israeli Arabs have infinitely more rights than their brethren in Arab states.”

* Chris Roycroft-Davis: “Make no mistake, I think a British passport is the most valuable document in the world and I don’t like it being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks.”

 

CONTENTS

1. Five passports
2. Son of one of Hamas’ founders “prevented dozens of suicide bombs”
3. Iranian website: Iranian nuclear bomb spells death to Israel
4. “International law provides no means for stopping terrorists like Mabhouh”
5. “That woman was almost certainly a man in drag”
6. “Whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?”
7. Better Hizbullah leaders get whacked than civilians later cowering in Beirut bomb shelters
8. “Israel’s right to self-defense” (By Gerald Steinberg, Wall Street Journal Europe)
9. “Only one group could be behind the latest hit…” (By Ian O’Doherty, Irish Independent)
10. “Why can’t this country follow Israel’s lead?” (By Chris Roycroft-Davis, UK Daily Express)
11. “More like this please” (By Michael J. Totten, Commentary magazine, Contentions blog)
12. “Son of Hamas founder was top Israeli agent” (The Associated Press)

 

This dispatch is a follow-up to:

Journalism 007: Reporting fiction as fact (Feb. 22, 2010)
Is Israel the only suspect over Dubai death? (Feb. 18, 2010)


FIVE PASSPORTS

[Note by Tom Gross]

A large number of people have written to me about the Dubai matter, and therefore I include four more articles that buck the general (anti-Israel) media trend on the subject. There are extracts first for those who don’t have time to read the articles in full.

To remind readers, I don’t necessarily endorse of agree with all the points in the articles selected for these dispatches. These articles are items of interest that often fill the gaps in reporting elsewhere. There are also two other news items before the extracts.

***

In my previous dispatch I wrote:

“Mabhouh had five different passports with him in Dubai: there seems to be no media coverage or interest in which countries’ passports he was using.”

Several journalists have written to ask where it was reported that he had five passports.

Hamas have themselves said this and it has received widespread reports in the Arab media (though not in the anti-Israeli Western media).

For example, this (in English) from the January 31, report in the United Arab Emirates paper, The National:

“He has five passports, one of them with his real name the other with different names, and this time he travelled under his actual identity,” said Talal Nasser, a senior spokesman for Hamas in Damascus. “He has travelled to Dubai many times before in this way without any problems.”

I know from other sources that one of the passports he used with a false name was Iraqi.

-- Tom Gross

 

SON OF ONE OF HAMAS’ FOUNDERS “PREVENTED DOZENS OF SUICIDE BOMBS”

The son of one of Hamas’ founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

Mosab Yousef’s memoir, “Son of Hamas,” is being published next week in the United States. The revelation of such a high-level informant deals another blow to Hamas, which suffered a key setback last month when one of its top commanders was killed in Dubai.

His father is Sheik Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Islamist terror group in the 1980s and still a senior figure in the organization. He is currently serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison. The younger Yousef converted to Christianity and moved to California in 2007.

“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” Yousef’s handler in the Shabak told Ha’aretz today. (Full AP piece below.)

 

IRANIAN WEBSITE: IRANIAN NUCLEAR BOMB SPELLS DEATH TO ISRAEL

An editorial on the Iranian website Asr-e Iran says that Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons will threaten Israel’s existence and lead to its elimination, even if they are never used. Once Iran possesses nuclear weapons and shifts the balance of power in the Middle East, this will be the end of Israeli society, it says. “Iran’s possession of such weapons will sow in Israel a sense of insecurity – and this sense alone will be enough to shatter the glass palace of this illegitimate regime in the Middle East. An Iran with nuclear weapons means an end to the dream of ‘secure Israel’ – and this means the exodus of most of the residents.”

 

EXTRACTS

“INTERNATIONAL LAW PROVIDES NO MEANS FOR STOPPING TERRORISTS LIKE MABHOUH”

Writing in today’s European edition of The Wall Street Journal, Gerald Steinberg (who is a subscriber to this email list), says:

The headlines and video images allegedly showing Israeli spies in Dubai are titillating, but they mask the serious issues involved in the death of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh… this case is the latest example of the failure of the international legal system and the United Nations to provide a remedy to mass terror.

Al-Mabhouh was a cold-blooded murderer … But international law provides no means for stopping terrorists like Al-Mabhouh, or for his Hizbullah counterpart, Imad Moughniyeh, whose life ended with an explosion in Damascus in 2008. (In addition to numerous attacks against Israelis, Moughniyeh has been blamed for the 1983 Beirut bombings that killed hundreds of American and French peacekeepers and the murder of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.) Cases involving Muslim terrorists, supported by Iran, would never be pursued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or raised in the framework of the United Nations.

… It is equally hard to imagine Interpol issuing arrest warrants in response to Israeli requests. And if warrants were issued, history shows that German, French, Belgian, and other European governments would not risk the consequences of acting on them. Little effort was ever made to apprehend the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic massacre, or of the deadly bombing attacks against synagogues in Istanbul and Athens. It’s a widely known secret that European governments had ungentlemanly agreements with the PLO that allowed the Palestinians to operate from their territories, provided the terror attacks occurred elsewhere.

… The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope of justice. Instead, these frameworks are used to exploit the rhetoric of human rights and morality to attack Israel.

 

“THAT WOMAN WAS ALMOST CERTAINLY A MAN IN DRAG”

Writing in The Irish Independent, Ian O’Doherty says:

It was the assassination – or ‘assasination’ as the Irish Anti War Movement misspelled it yesterday – that has been heard around the world.

In scenes reminiscent of something from a Freddie Forsyth novel, a supposedly crack team of 11 hit men (that woman was almost certainly a man in drag) entered a hotel in Dubai, targeted a top Hamas terrorist whom they had been trailing for years and promptly took him out.

Before equally promptly finding their faces splashed all over the world’s media.

The widespread belief that it was Mossad behind the operation has led to an unprecedented orgy of Israel-bashing, with the hoary old arguments about the only democracy in the region being a ‘rogue’ state or, even more inaccurately an ‘apartheid’ state – a disgusting allegation at the best of times, particularly when you consider that Israeli Arabs have infinitely more rights than their brethren in Arab states.

The irony, of course, is that it hasn’t even been conclusively proved that Mossad were the people behind the operation.

… Frankly, I find it hard to understand anyone who doesn’t simply shrug their shoulders and realise that it’s one fewer terrorist planning murderous attacks on civilians.

... The story took a fantastic turn for the surreal yesterday. MPAC, the Muslims Public Affairs Committee, which recently issued not-very-thinly-veiled death threats against myself and Kevin Myers (when a group of Muslim extremists publicly announces that: “we will not shirk our responsibility, we cannot be blamed for defending ourselves” then there can be only one conclusion) have figured out who is responsible for the attack: Irish Jews.

Ireland’s Jewish community is not exactly renowned for being particularly militant. Indeed, one of the criticisms I often level against some of my mates who happen to be Jewish is that they are not vocal enough in their support of Israel, but according to MPAC: “Scheming Zionists used Ireland’s generous welcome as a means to launch their own insidious campaign for a homeland, a land they convinced the world was without a people”.

Now one can be forgiven for raising a quizzical eyebrow at the notion that arriving Jews received a “generous welcome” – certainly the Jews who were attacked in the Church-organised pogrom in Limerick in 1904 might have a different perspective…

 

“WHOSE SIDE ARE WE ON, THE TERRORISTS OR THOSE WITH THE COURAGE TO STAND UP TO THEM?”

Writing in the British paper, The Daily Express, Chris Roycroft-Davis says:

Excuse me for not sending flowers to the funeral of the terrorist the Israelis bumped off in Dubai. Unlike the bleeding hearts in the liberal media I’m not shedding any tears.

As military chief of terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud al Mabhouh had the blood of many Israeli soldiers and civilians on his hands. He was in charge of smuggling rockets and grenades into the Gaza Strip so his murderous gangs could lob them into Israel.

He could hardly complain when a hit squad from Mossad, the Israeli security service, brought his life to a swift end. To say he had it coming is an understatement.

So why such a fuss about his execution? Why has the Foreign office twisted the arm of the Israeli ambassador? And possibly the most crucial question of all: whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?

The Israelis don’t mess about, they don’t sit back and take it… Did Mahmoud al-Mabhouh reflect on that as he checked in to room 230 at his posh hotel in Dubai?

… Unlike Britain, Israel doesn’t tolerate an enemy within. It doesn’t give those who hate them free housing and welfare handouts. It doesn’t let the right of free speech enable them to preach murder on its streets.

… We should take no lessons either from the BBC, which for too long refused to call Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists” and hid behind weasel words like “radicals” and “militants”. Its anti-Israel bias is clear today…

… Make no mistake, I think a British passport is the most valuable document in the world and I don’t like it being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks.

 

“BETTER HIZBULLAH LEADERS GET WHACKED THAN CIVILIANS HAVING TO DIVE INTO A BEIRUT BOMB SHELTER DURING ISRAELI AIR RAIDS”

In the fourth piece, Michael J. Totten (also a subscriber to this email list), writes:

… Mabhouh was a terrorist commander on a mission to acquire Iranian weapons for use against civilians. He was a combatant. Unlike his victims, he was fair game. He would have been fair game for even an air strike if he were in Gaza. As he was, instead, in Dubai, he was taken out quietly without even alerting, let alone harming, any of the civilians around him.

If only Israel could fight all its battles this way. It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare. Even some of Israel’s harshest critics should understand that.

… Hamas and Hizbullah use civilians as human shields. Hizbullah uses an entire country as a vast human shield. Some critics, for various reasons, are more interested in lambasting Israel than the terrorist organizations it’s fighting. That’s easy when you live in New York or Brussels. People in the Middle East have to live with (or die because of) what happens. How Middle Easterners fight wars isn’t political or academic to me. I’ve never been inside Gaza, but I once lived in Lebanon, I travel there regularly, and there’s a real chance I’ll be there when the next war pops off. I’d rather not be used as a human shield if that’s OK with those who give Hamas and Hizbullah a pass. And I’d much rather read about Hizbullah leaders getting whacked by mysterious assassins with forged passports than dive into a Beirut bomb shelter during Israeli air raids…

[Extracts above prepared by Tom Gross]

 

UPDATE: LINKS

Melanie Phillips on The Spectator website. (And more here.)
Douglas Murray on The Daily Telegraph website.
Stephanie Gutmann on The Daily Telegraph website.
Comments at The National Post (Canada) here, here, and here.
The National Review recommendations here, here, and here.
FPI daily brief
Powerline
Roger L. Simon
Beltway Bips
HonestReporting: Mossad passport affair


FULL ARTICLES

“FOR ISRAEL, INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORKS PROVIDE NO PROTECTION AND NO HOPE OF JUSTICE”

Israel’s right to self-defense
By Gerald Steinberg
The Wall Street Journal Europe (Comment page)
February 24, 2010

The headlines and video images allegedly showing Israeli spies in Dubai are titillating, but they mask the serious issues involved in the death of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Along with predictable European hand-wringing over forged passports, this case is the latest example of the failure of the international legal system and the United Nations to provide a remedy to mass terror.

Al-Mabhouh was a cold-blooded murderer – in an interview just last year on Al Jazeera he boasted about kidnapping and then killing two Israeli soldiers. He was also a major figure in arranging arms shipments from Iran to Gaza. Al-Mabhouh shared responsibility for the thousands of rocket attacks fired at civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns, which resulted in last year’s war in Gaza. In his travels, the Hamas terrorist was probably making arrangements for the next round of attacks.

But international law provides no means for stopping terrorists like Al-Mabhouh, or for his Hizbullah counterpart, Imad Moughniyeh, whose life ended with an explosion in Damascus in 2008. (In addition to numerous attacks against Israelis, Moughniyeh has been blamed for the 1983 Beirut bombings that killed hundreds of American and French peacekeepers and the murder of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.) Cases involving Muslim terrorists, supported by Iran, would never be pursued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or raised in the framework of the United Nations. Al-Mabhouh violated the human rights of untold Israeli civilians, but the U.N.’s Human Rights Council – which is dominated by such moral stalwarts as Libya, Algeria, and Iran – has no interest in Israeli complaints.

It is equally hard to imagine Interpol issuing arrest warrants in response to Israeli requests. And if warrants were issued, history shows that German, French, Belgian, and other European governments would not risk the consequences of acting on them. Little effort was ever made to apprehend the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic massacre, or of the deadly bombing attacks against synagogues in Istanbul and Athens. It’s a widely known secret that European governments had ungentlemanly agreements with the PLO that allowed the Palestinians to operate from their territories, provided the terror attacks occurred elsewhere. Not until 2003 did the EU even put Hamas on its terror list. Hizbullah is currently free to operate in Europe.

The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope of justice. Instead, these frameworks are used to exploit the rhetoric of human rights and morality to attack Israel. In European courts, universal jurisdiction statutes, initially created to apprehend and try dictators and genocidal leaders, are now exploited as weapons in the service of the Palestinian cause. In this way, Israeli defense officials are branded as “war criminals.”

Similarly, Richard Goldstone’s predetermined “fact finding inquiry” into the Gaza war makes no mention of Al-Mabhouh or Iran, which supplied Hamas with over 10,000 rockets for attacks against Israelis. Mr. Goldstone and his team have remained silent about what would be the “legal” way to bring jihadi murderers to justice. In their efforts to demonize Israel, Palestinian terror actually doesn’t really exist. The Goldstone team simply refused to accept conclusive Israeli video evidence of Hamas war crimes.

The same legal distortions are found among the organizations that claim to be the world’s moral guardians, such as Human Rights Watch. HRW’s systematic bias is reflected in a Middle East division that sees no problem in holding fund-raising dinners in Saudi Arabia – one of the world’s worst human rights violators and a country officially still at war with Israel – to help finance their campaigns against the Jewish state.

In the absence of any legal remedies or Western solidarity, Israel’s only option to protect its citizens from terror has always been to act independently and with force. When in 1976 a group of Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked an Israel-bound Air France plane to Uganda and separated the Jewish passengers, Israel decided to act. In a daring mission, it rescued all but three passengers while killing all terrorists and several Ugandan soldiers who had been protecting the terrorists. Back then, Israel’s detractors also fretted about the “violation of Ugandan sovereignty” even though dictator Idi Amin was in cahoots with the terrorists. Entebbe, though, quickly became the gold standard for successful counter-terror operations. Only a year later, Israeli-trained German special forces freed in Mogadishu, Somalia a Lufthansa plane hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Similarly, when after years of horrific suicide bombings Israel pioneered the targeted killings of Hamas terrorists – often with the help of unmanned drones – Israel’s Western adversaries complained about “extrajudicial assassinations.” Today, though, U.S. forces have copied Israel’s technique with their own drone killings of jihadi terrorists in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

Unlike those Predator strikes, though, which hardly raise an eyebrow in the West these days, there was no “collateral damage” in the mysterious Dubai hit. No innocent civilians were hurt, no buildings were damaged. Justice was done, and al-Mabhouh’s preparations for the next war ended quietly.

All this is lost on those diplomats, “legal experts,” and pundits who blame Israel for Dubai, and angrily denounce the passport infractions. In the absence of viable alternatives, and a refusal to share any of the risks, they are in no position to condemn actions aimed at preventing more terror.

 

“MABHOUH CERTAINLY HAD ENOUGH FORM TO MERIT HIS EXECUTION”

Only one group could be behind the latest hit – the Irish Jews
By Ian O’Doherty
The Irish Independent (Comment page)
February 19, 2010

It was the assassination – or ‘assasination’ as the Irish Anti War Movement misspelled it yesterday – that has been heard around the world.

In scenes reminiscent of something from a Freddie Forsyth novel, a supposedly crack team of 11 hit men (that woman was almost certainly a man in drag) entered a hotel in Dubai, targeted a top Hamas terrorist whom they had been trailing for years and promptly took him out.

Before equally promptly finding their faces splashed all over the world’s media.

The widespread belief that it was Mossad behind the operation has led to an unprecedented orgy of Israel-bashing, with the hoary old arguments about the only democracy in the region being a ‘rogue’ state or, even more inaccurately an ‘apartheid’ state – a disgusting allegation at the best of times, particularly when you consider that Israeli Arabs have infinitely more rights than their brethren in Arab states.

The irony, of course, is that it hasn’t even been conclusively proved that Mossad were the people behind the operation. And while a betting man would certainly have a flutter on their involvement, one frequently overlooked fact is that there have already been arrests – of two Palestinians who were pulled in Jordan and have been extradited to Dubai.

So, if the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was indeed those pesky Israelis and not the result of a Hamas power struggle or an assassination carried out by one of the many Arab groups who loathe the Islamist Hamas with as much passion as the Israelis, were they right to do it?

Frankly, I find it hard to understand anyone who doesn’t simply shrug their shoulders and realise that it’s one fewer terrorist planning murderous attacks on civilians.

Al-Mabhouh certainly had enough form to merit his execution – he was personally responsible for the murder of IDF soldiers in the ‘80s and was, by all accounts, in Dubai to arrange an arms deal with the main Hamas sponsor, Iran.

Any country has the right to defend itself from attack, and Israel has even more right to do so than any other country on earth for the simple reason that when a country loses a war it faces a few years of rebuilding and recovery. If and when Israel loses a war it will simply cease to exist.

So, when you know that you are facing the possibility of complete and total annihilation rather than just military defeat, the niceties of international law tend to become rather moot.

One of the reasons why many military analysts aren’t so quick to immediately pin the blame – or should I say credit – on Mossad is the shoddiness of the attack.

All 11 have been clearly identified and were identified quickly.

For a country that prides itself on the power and ability of their two main security services, Mossad and their domestic counterparts Shin Bet, such looseness rather dents the aura of invincibility that surrounds them. An aura, it must be said, that has taken a bit of a battering over recent years with such humiliating climb-downs as having to provide the antidote to one of their targets after it emerged that they had poisoned him.

Not exactly the handiwork of a crack team of spooks.

But the story took a fantastic turn for the surreal yesterday.

MPAC, the Muslims Public Affair Committee, which recently issued not-very-thinly-veiled death threats against myself and Kevin Myers (when a group of Muslim extremists publicly announces that: “we will not shirk our responsibility, we cannot be blamed for defending ourselves” then there can be only one conclusion) have figured out who is responsible for the attack: Irish Jews.

Ireland’s Jewish community is not exactly renowned for being particularly militant. Indeed, one of the criticisms I often level against some of my mates who happen to be Jewish is that they are not vocal enough in their support of Israel, but according to MPAC: “Scheming Zionists used Ireland’s generous welcome as a means to launch their own insidious campaign for a homeland, a land they convinced the world was without a people”.

Now one can be forgiven for raising a quizzical eyebrow at the notion that arriving Jews received a “generous welcome” – certainly the Jews who were attacked in the Church-organised pogrom in Limerick in 1904 might have a different perspective.

But the group then goes on to say: “The three alleged Mossad assassins (who) either illegally procured Irish passports or were indeed part of Ireland’s Jewish community. The three Irish passport holders were named as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron.”

They’re not exactly very Jewish names, but hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way when there’s a chance to launch an attack on the integrity of Irish Jews that would be repugnant if it wasn’t so amusingly implausible.

But maybe my friends at MPAC have raised an interesting opportunity – the next time I pop down to the rather fantastic corner bakery where I live to buy some of their delicious Challah bread, I’ll let it slip that I have an Irish passport for sale – only one previous owner and thanks to the fact that I’ve been bloody skint for the last 12 months, it hasn’t been used much either.

 

“DID MABHOUH REFLECT ON THAT AS HE CHECKED IN TO ROOM 230 AT HIS POSH HOTEL IN DUBAI?”

Why can’t this country follow Israel’s lead?
By Chris Roycroft-Davis
Daily Express (London) (Comment page)
February 19, 2010

Excuse me for not sending flowers to the funeral of the terrorist the Israelis bumped off in Dubai. Unlike the bleeding hearts in the liberal media I’m not shedding any tears.

As military chief of terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud al Mabhouh had the blood of many Israeli soldiers and civilians on his hands. He was in charge of smuggling rockets and grenades into the Gaza Strip so his murderous gangs could lob them into Israel.

He could hardly complain when a hit squad from Mossad, the Israeli security service, brought his life to a swift end. To say he had it coming is an understatement.

So why such a fuss about his execution? Why has the Foreign office twisted the arm of the Israeli ambassador? And possibly the most crucial question of all: whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?

The Israelis don’t mess about, they don’t sit back and take it. You kill one of them and they will kill you. And afterwards they won’t explain, they won’t apologise, they won’t even deny it.

WORLD opinion means nothing – whatever London, Washington or Damascus may say the Israelis are convinced that they are right. An eye for an eye is the most basic concept of natural justice, dating back 4,000 years to Babylonian times and is promoted three times in the old Testament. Even in the New Testament Jesus says: Those who take up the sword shall die by the sword.

Did Mahmoud al-Mabhouh reflect on that as he checked in to room 230 at his posh hotel in Dubai? He was the man behind the kidnapping and killing of two Israel soldiers 21 years ago; he had been smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip; he was believed to be in Dubai to buy more weapons from an Iranian dealer. If Mossad agents came to call they were hardly there to inquire after his health.

Unlike Britain, Israel doesn’t tolerate an enemy within. It doesn’t give those who hate them free housing and welfare handouts. It doesn’t let the right of free speech enable them to preach murder on its streets.

Retribution is a vital part of Israel’s psyche. After the Second World War the Israelis spent half a century tracking down evil Nazis. When Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 Olympics their Palestinian killers were hunted around the world and eliminated: one by a bomb in his bed, another by a booby-trapped phone.

Who can forget the electrifying raid on Entebbe in 1976 when Israeli special forces stormed a hijacked airliner, killed the terrorists and freed all but three of the hostages? It was a salutary lesson to the world.

You’d think that Britain of all countries would understand the need to pull no punches with those who have sworn to be your enemies. That’s what the SAS did in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, taking out IRA members before they could perpetrate further outrages. It is what our special forces did in Iraq and are doubtless doing in Afghanistan.

It is what the SAS should be doing today in Somalia, where British yacht couple Paul and Rachel Chandler are being held by pirates. Can you imagine the Israelis allowing two of their people to suffer so long in some fly-blown African hellhole?

Israel has no reason to be ashamed of its actions. As Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out: “our security activity is conducted according to the very clear, very cautious and responsible rules of the game.” rule No 1 of course in any security activity is kill or be killed.

Where Britain has a right to be upset, however, is the way the Israelis have carried out ID theft on the passports of six of our citizens. It’s not the first time they’ve done it and last time they promised they wouldn’t do it again.

One Foreign office source says Britain could cut ties with Mossad if the Israelis have been “found to be acting against British interests”. You might think executing the would terrorist might be precisely in our interests but the career diplomats take a loftier view.

Gordon Brown says Israel has questions to answer about nicking our passports but the implication is that Britain wouldn’t be in the least bit put out if the Israeli hit squad had used fake documents from Libya, Japan, Peru – in fact anywhere other than Britain.

BROWN even has the cheek to spout that “a British passport is an important part of being British”. This from a Prime Minister whose policy was to welcome millions of immigrants so he could socially engineer the country to be less British and more likely to vote Labour.

We should take no lessons either from the BBC, which for too long refused to call Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists” and hid behind weasel words like “radicals” and “militants”. Its anti-Israel bias is clear today when BBC News pontificates that Israel “may have scored a costly own goal” by using British identities for what it calls “nefarious activities”.

Make no mistake, I think a British passport is the most valuable document in the world and I don’t like it being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks.

 

MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE

More like this please
By Michael J. Totten
Commentary magazine (Contentions blog)
February 23, 2010

I can understand why Dubai authorities aren’t happy about the killing of Hamas senior military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, presumably by Israeli Mossad agents, in one of the city-state’s hotel rooms last month. More than most countries in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has stayed out of the Arab-Israeli conflict and would rather it not wash up on the beach.

Even as European Union officials perfunctorily squawk about the use of forged passports by the assassins, few others have grounds to complain. Al-Mabhouh was a terrorist commander on a mission to acquire Iranian weapons for use against civilians. He was a combatant. Unlike his victims, he was fair game. He would have been fair game for even an air strike if he were in Gaza. As he was, instead, in Dubai, he was taken out quietly without even alerting, let alone harming, any of the civilians around him.

If only Israel could fight all its battles this way. It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare. Even some of Israel’s harshest critics should understand that.

“The Goldstone Report,” Alan Dershowitz wrote in the Jerusalem Post, “suggests that Israel cannot lawfully fight Hamas rockets by wholesale air attacks. Richard Goldstone, in his interviews, has suggested that Israel should protect itself from these unlawful attacks by more proportionate measures, such as commando raids and targeted killing of terrorists engaged in the firing of rockets. Well, there could be no better example of a proportionate and focused attack on a combatant deeply involved in the rocket attacks on Israel than the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.”

Hamas and Hizbullah use civilians as human shields. Hizbullah uses an entire country as a vast human shield. Some critics, for various reasons, are more interested in lambasting Israel than the terrorist organizations it’s fighting. That’s easy when you live in New York or Brussels. People in the Middle East have to live with (or die because of) what happens. How Middle Easterners fight wars isn’t political or academic to me. I’ve never been inside Gaza, but I once lived in Lebanon, I travel there regularly, and there’s a real chance I’ll be there when the next war pops off. I’d rather not be used as a human shield if that’s OK with those who give Hamas and Hizbullah a pass. And I’d much rather read about Hizbullah leaders getting whacked by mysterious assassins with forged passports than dive into a Beirut bomb shelter during Israeli air raids.

But I’m not particularly concerned about my own skin here. Nobody forces me to travel to war zones. I don’t have to visit the Middle East ever again if I don’t want to. Every trip I’ve ever taken has been voluntary, and I can leave whenever I’ve had enough.

A lot of people I care about live in Lebanon, and some of them can’t leave. They never volunteered to be used as human shields by Hizbullah, and in fact had their neighborhood – my old neighborhood – shot up and blown up by Hizbullah gunmen recently. Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah doesn’t consult them or their elected officials on his foreign policy and would sooner shoot them than be relieved of his ability to declare war unilaterally or on the orders of Tehran.

It’s unlikely that Israel can avert the next war by assassinating its enemy’s leadership, but it’s always better to take out a high-level target in person whenever possible than with a blockbuster bomb from a distance. I can’t help but wonder if those griping about the recent hit in Dubai – assuming the Mossad actually did it – care less about the lives of real human beings than the latest excuse to bash Israel. If the Arab-Israeli conflict will continue – and it will continue –civilians on both sides should prefer combatants be taken off the board quietly while everyone else goes about their daily business in peace.

 

SON OF HAMAS FOUNDER WAS TOP ISRAELI AGENT

Son of Hamas founder was top Israeli agent
The Associated Press
February 24, 2010

JERUSALEM – The son of one of Hamas’ founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

Mosab Yousef’s memoir, “Son of Hamas,” is being published next week in the United States, and highlights of the book and an interview with the author appeared Wednesday in Israel’s Ha’aretz daily. Yousef declined comment, but his Facebook page plugs the book as “a gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices.”

The revelation of such a high-level informant would deal another blow to Hamas, which suffered a key setback last month when one of its top commanders was assassinated in Dubai last month. Dubai authorities have accused Israel of carrying out the hit, and there have been reports that a Hamas insider assisted the killers.

Hamas, however, claimed it was suspicious of Yousef’s activities for years, and had kept a close eye on him to prevent him from gathering valuable information. His father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Islamic militant group in the 1980s and still a senior figure, issued a statement through his lawyer saying his son had been “blackmailed” by Israeli authorities during a stint in jail in 1996.

Mosab Yousef, dubbed “the Green Prince” by his handlers, told the Ha’aretz daily that he was one of Israeli intelligence’s most valuable sources in Gaza. His reports led to the arrests of several high-ranking Palestinian figures during the violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule that began in 2000, the newspaper said.

The younger Yousef converted to Christianity and moved to California in 2007.

Hamas officials rejected the Ha’aretz report as propaganda meant to divert attention from the Dubai assassination.

The elder Yousef said in his statement that when Hamas concluded Israel was extorting his son, “the members of the movement were warned about him.”

It said he was placed “under the supervision” of his father, whom it described as a politician uninvolved in militant activities. The elder Yousef is currently serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison for his political activities.

Collaboration with Israel is tantamount to treason in Palestinian society and can be punishable by death.

In his Facebook posting, Yousef told his friends his story “will blow your minds away. It is going to be like a tsunami in the Middle East” and “will spread like a wild fire.” His book plug describes Yousef’s journey as one that “jeopardized Hamas, endangered his family, and threatened his life.”

The book’s publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, which prints books with Christian themes, confirmed the details in the Ha’aretz report.

Yousef told Ha’aretz that Israeli intelligence agents first approached him in prison in 1996 and proposed he infiltrate the upper echelons of Hamas. He did so and is credited by Israel with saving hundreds of Israeli lives.

Yousef told the paper he hoped to send a message of peace to Israelis, though he remained pessimistic about prospects for ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

He had particularly sharp comments for Hamas, the Iranian-backed movement that seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 and has been branded a terrorist organization by Israel and the West.

“Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels,” he told Ha’aretz.

He claimed, however, that his relationship with his handlers helped thwart an Israeli plan to assassinate his father.

The Shin Bet internal intelligence agency declined comment. But Ha’aretz published comments by a former official it said was Yousef’s former handler.

“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said the handler, identified in Yousef’s book only as Capt. Loai. He described one incident in which “the Green Prince” tracked a would-be suicide bomber in the West Bank town of Ramallah, enabling agents to arrest the attacker.

“This was an almost daily thing for the Prince,” he told the newspaper. “He displayed courage, had sharp antennae and an ability to cope with danger.”

The techniques described in the report – recruiting a potential agent in jail and targeting a family member of a valuable target – are believed to be common tactics used by the agency.

The dramatic defection of someone of Yousef’s stature is a huge setback to Hamas, says Martin Kramer, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a conservative Jerusalem think tank.

“This obviously is the sort of thing that makes Hamas wonder whether there aren’t still more informers in their ranks,” he said.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.