By Nasha'at Halabi
Despite last year's Israeli invasion of Gaza and the strong evidence that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed by the Israeli armed forces, to-date the world has not gone so far as to condemn the Israelis outright. The Zionist political and media machines have succeeded more or less to convince the rest of the world that Hamas rockets were pounding their land and killing their children and old people, and so "retaliation" was both reasonable and essential. As usual, Israel played the "Islamic terrorism" card and made the world believe that Hamas and its resistance to occupation is part of the same terrorist movement responsible for atrocities in New York, London, Madrid and elsewhere. European opinion has since World War Two been a tool for the Israelis to use and manipulate at will, hence the continuous and unlimited European support for Israel, right or wrong, with very little effort to probe deeper to see who is really the oppressor and who is the oppressed.
Now, though, it looks as if the Europeans are beginning to wake up to the reality of Benjamin Netanyahu's state terrorism, with the latest assassination in Dubai exposing a trend of such murders using identities stolen from passport holders of countries across Western Europe. Although "official" Europe may want to ease off on the criticism of Israel's criminal deception, the lack of cooperation from the Israelis (indeed, even flat denials of their involvement in Al-Mabhouh's murder and cynical comments about it) means that countries like Britain and Ireland stand to lose face before their own citizens if they continue with a lackadaisical stand against the Zionist state. That is why the European Union has now stepped in and condemned the use of forged passports, creating a crisis with Dublin, London and Paris on one side and Tel Aviv on the other.
We will probably never know for sure who killed Al-Mabhouh, but it is generally accepted that Israel's Mossad was behind it; at least seven of the real passport holders live in Israel with their original passports, so it is hard to see who else could have gained access to their details. Nevertheless, the ball is now in the Palestinian and Arab court to make good use of the anger and humiliation of the Europeans and turn this crime to their advantage in the struggle against Israeli intransigence and belligerence. The evidence already suggests that Europe is more ready than ever before to listen to the Palestinian narrative. Through articles in the mainstream media, increasing numbers of people are raising their awareness of what is happening in the land know to them as "Holy".
The sacrifice of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh will not have been in vain if this movement can be developed so that justice for the Palestinians becomes the main purpose of negotiations, not simply a vacuous peace that merely signals the absence of conflict. At this time, as we may well be witnessing the first signs of world opinion turning against Israel and its colonialist aims, Palestinian reconciliation must also be a priority so that this opportunity is not wasted.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.