Friday, February 26, 2010

Israeli 'Special Ops', and, International Relations: a comment

"BRUSSELS - The European Union condemned on Monday the use of fraudulent EU passports by the killers of a Palestinian militant in Dubai, showing its discontent with Israel without referring to it directly.

In a short statement that European diplomats said was intended as a rebuke to Israel, EU foreign ministers said that the assassination was "profoundly disturbing" and that its citizens' rights were violated.

Dubai has accused Israel of being behind the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Israel has not denied or confirmed it played any role but its foreign minister, visiting Brussels, said there was nothing to link it to the killing.

"The EU strongly condemns the fact that those involved in this action (the killing) used fraudulent EU member states' passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens' identities," ministers said after talks in Brussels.

"The EU welcomes the investigation by the Dubai authorities and calls on all countries to cooperate with it."

Diplomats said the statement was intended to put pressure on Israel, but no direct reference was made to it because there was no proof Israeli agents carried out the assassination.

The declaration is unlikely to have any long-term repercussions for EU-Israeli ties and Israeli officials have played down the possibility of a full-blown crisis.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip, said the EU statement lacked teeth and would tempt Israel to carry out "more crimes of this kind...."

Dubai authorities say they are virtually certain Israeli agents carried out the killing and have released the identities of 11 people who travelled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Mabhouh in a hotel.

Mabhouh was involved in smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip, Hamas has said.

France and Germany have asked Israel for an explanation and President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke of France's "irrevocable condemnation of what is nothing less than an assassination" after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris....

Six Britons with the same names as members of the alleged hit team live in Israel and say their identities were stolen.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to cooperate with a British inquiry into British passports could have been forged for use by the assassins.

Lieberman, who met Miliband in Brussels, said in a statement there was no proof Israel was involved in the killing, and later told reporters: 'I think you have all seen too many James Bond movies.'"

Luke Baker, "Unhappy with Israel, EU condemns Dubai Killing," 22 February 2010, in>

"C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute" [upon hearing of the murder of the Duc d'Enghien]. Antoine de la Meurthe, also attributed to Maurice de Talleyrand.

In a time of 'extra-ordinary renditions', now more or less openly done, if less than previously, as well as the semi-targeted killings done by American drones in among other places, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, one is a bit at sea in commenting in a negative way about the recent Israeli action. Of course, the Israelis themselves have a long track record of 'dealing' with 'extreme prejudice' with those they regard as out and out opponents of the Jewish State. As in the case of the assassinated Hamas operative, usually the individuals so targeted have blood on their hands. They are most definitely not 'innocents' in any sense of the word. And, I am sure that in the case of the murder that took place in Dubai, the victim was one is quite sure someone who deserves many, many years servitude as a galley slave. So, we are not dealing with issues of 'justice' or lack thereof. What we are dealing with is the impact of the Israeli action on the International system. Unfortunately, from that perspective it is rather difficult to view in a positive fashion what has occurred. Why is that? Well, for the simple reason, that unlike say the current regime of Mullahs in Persia(who have a long track record of targeted assassinations and terrorism well outside of its borders), Israel enjoys still, x amount of legitimacy in the world. It is not a rogue state `a la Iraq under Saddam Hussein, or Syria, Persia, North Korea, or Libya previously. And, unlike those states, it is dependent to a degree upon the indulgence of the civilized world for its current existence, and, indeed its International legitimacy. As a writer in the Financial Times pointed out this week:

"Some Israelis are clearly despairing at this series of diplomatic own goals. It is a development that is all the more puzzling given that Israel is fully aware of the dangers it faces from the international backlash. Many Israelis are convinced their country is the victim of a campaign of “delegitimisation” masterminded by Palestinian groups and anti-Israeli activists around the world....

Looming behind these is the fear that Israel will eventually be treated as a pariah state like apartheid-era South Africa, with all the consequences that might entail: no Israeli singers at the annual Eurovision song contest, no Jaffa oranges on European fruit platters and no European and American support for Israeli policies at the United Nations....

Yet Israel worries, rightly, that it is losing the sympathy of broad swathes of western public opinion . The careful nurturing of Israel’s diplomatic ties with allies is not the stuff of dramatic headlines. But it may serve the Jewish state’s long-term interests better than a dead Palestinian militant in a Dubai hotel room.

"Israel beset by diplomatic own goals." 24 February 2010, in

The bedrock of the realpolitik theory of international relations is the "Melian Dialogue", as reported in Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War, in which the Athenians responded to the Melians arguments by stating openly: "the strong do what they can, the weak suffer as they must". For quite awhile now, Israel has played at times the role of Athens in this dialogue. The assassination of this miserable Hamas operative is part and parcel of this type of behavior. So far, so good. What is less than good, is that: a) insofar as Israel is associated with and indeed dependent upon the good will of the West (Europe and America) as a whole, its mis-behavior reflects badly not just upon herself but also upon its patron (Europe) and benefactors (Europe). One can very well indeed, imagine that the regime of Mullahs in Teheran will regard Israel's behavior as giving it carte blanche to behave in a similar manner. As well as giving it another pretext to not negotiate with the West over the issue of its nuclear weapons programme; b) there may come a time, when both Europe and America will cease to be so indulgent of its wayward charge, if it insists upon behaving akin to an international outlaw. Perhaps the Israelis should keep in mind the fact that within less than fifteen years of the Melian dialogue, Athens was defeated, disarmed and occupied by a Spartan army of occupation. Plus ca change...


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