Britain «blocking Mossad return to London»

Britain «blocking Mossad return to London»
# 06 May 2010 04:45 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Britain is refusing to allow a new Mossad representative to take up his post in London because of the Israeli spy agency’s alleged use of fake British passports in the assassination of a Palestinian militant, APA reports quoting “Times Online”.
Israel has resisted a demand by Britain that it promise in writing not to use British passports in similar clandestine operations in the future, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth said. Israel has so far refused the condition, it said, because to do so could be seen as an admission of culpability in the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas operative murdered in his Dubai hotel room in January.
Britain ordered the previous Mossad representative at the Israeli Embassy in London to leave the country almost six weeks ago. His expulsion demonstrated the Government’s anger that the spy agency had apparently obtained cloned British, French, Irish, German and Australian passports to infiltrate Dubai, kill Mr al-Mabhouh and escape immediate detection. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it had received no approach from Israel about replacing the expelled agent. “However, we look to Israel to rebuild the trust we believe is required for the full and open relationship we would like,” said an FCO spokeswoman. “We have asked for specific assurances from Israel, which would clearly be a positive step towards rebuilding that trust. Any Israeli request for the diplomat to be replaced would be considered against the context of these UK requests.”
Ron Prosor, the Israeli Ambassador to Britain, told The Times yesterday that he could not discuss the content of bilateral talks with the British Government. He did, however, say that “these issues” would be discussed with the next British government after May 6.
Regarding relations between Britain and Israel after the Dubai episode, he said: “I think there is an understanding of what has to be done, on the one hand. On the other hand, the general feeling is that British citizens, through passports and other things, shouldn’t be put in the forefront of this.”
On expelling the Mossad agent from London in March, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said that Israel’s cloning of British passports was an “intolerable” act that displayed “a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom”. He told the Commons that he had demanded a formal assurance from Avigdor Lieberman, his Israeli counterpart, that no such acts would be undertaken again. According to yesterday’s reports, no such written pledge has been submitted.
There were some fears in Israel that Britain’s tough example could be followed by other countries and that a wave of expulsions could harm Mossad’s ability to operate in Europe.
British-Israeli ties have been strained further by the use of the British court system by pro-Palestinian groups to issue arrest warrants for Israeli leaders visiting Britain, accusing them of war crimes. Several senior Israeli officials have either cancelled scheduled trips or left the country after learning that police were looking for them. The Foreign Office has expressed its anger that a legal loophole is being used to threaten visiting Israeli officials and said that it would reform the law.