By Abdel Bari Atwan
The assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, widely assumed to have been carried out by Mossad, exposed not only some of the security services in the Palestinian Authority and their collaboration with Israeli intelligence, but has also some European countries and their collusion with Israeli terrorism.
The silence of Western governments when their citizens' passports were used by Mossad during this murderous operation was surprising. It was even more surprising to read reports which claimed that the Israelis told their British counterparts that their agents were going to use British passports. If true, that confirms British collusion with, and encouragement of, Israel's state terrorism against Arabs.
Granted, the British government was quick to deny these press reports, but the fact that they did not take any action against the Israelis, confirms that the official British anger we saw vented by calling the Israeli ambassador to Foreign and Commonwealth Office was a sham played out for the media. When she was Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher expelled thirteen Israeli diplomats and stopped security deals with Israel when, in 1987, Mossad used British passports in similar terrorist operations. It is doubtful that Gordon Brown, her latest successor and an avowed supporter of Israel, will take such action.
This shameful complicity of European governments, whose lack of action condones tacitly the Israeli murder of Al-Mabhouh, confirms that Israeli officials were right when they said that the fuss will soon blow over and everything will be back to normal after a week at most. All that was needed was an Israeli "apology" behind closed doors and the file would be closed. Israel has experience of this, giving similar "apologies" to Canada and New Zealand when it used their passports is similar operations. Canadian-Israeli relations were unaffected; in fact, they grew stronger.
This assassination represents state terrorism by Israel which is no better than any other terrorism, including al-Qaeda's. It could be said to be more dangerous because al-Qaeda is not a member state of the United Nations and has no pretentions about being the only democratic country and a symbol of Western civilization in the Middle East.
Such acts carried out with the tacit support of the West provide excuses, rightly or wrongly, for extremists to recruit and radicalise young people who feel oppressed, humiliated and powerless. This explanation does not condone terrorism but if the likes of Israel's Mossad is allowed to act as if it is above all law and conventions, sending murderers to the capital cities of moderate countries which are allies of the West and violating their sovereignty in broad daylight, what message does this send to impressionable young Muslims and others? Western countries spend billions of dollars on the pretext of fighting Arab and Islamic terrorism, but they lose credibility, and friends whose support is invaluable, when they do not lift a finger in the face of Israeli terrorism, which many would argue is the source of all global terrorism.
Arab governments should take punitive action against countries which are collaborating with Israeli terrorism, by threatening to stop any and all cooperation on matters of security if they do not move to take meaningful action against the Zionist state. Pressure needs to be asserted to bring the assassins to justice as soon as possible but this is wishful thinking, because most Arab governments lack any real sovereignty and have little self-respect as they bow down to the West.
It goes without saying that the Palestinian Authority, by the involvement of two of its former officers in this murder, has lost whatever prestige and credibility remained. It will lose the right to represent even one Palestinian if it does not immediately punish the officials known to be collaborating in this respect and expel from its ranks all Mossad agents as soon as possible.
The PA has faced two major scandals in less than a week, one involving an intelligence service that is supposed to be working in the interests of the Palestinians but which has turned into a tool to spy on Palestinian citizens and officials alike for Israel's benefit; the other scandal is working with Mossad for the liquidation of one of the honourable freedom fighters who has sacrificed his life for the service of his cause and resisting the illegal occupation of his land.
The assassination of Al-Mabhouh was painful and humiliating at the same time; painful as it affected a national resistance figure, and humiliating because it happened in an Arab country. But perhaps "good will come out from the soles of evil" as it exposed the Palestinian Authority and some of its leadership working for Israel's interest, as it also exposed Western hypocrisy in its worst form. Those who support Israeli terrorism, even by condoning it, can only be terrorists themselves. Righteous talk in Washington and London, or any other Western capital, about the fight against terrorism will now be mocked as long as these capitals participate indirectly in the terrorism of the Israeli state.
Western countries are preparing to impose economic sanctions on Iran, which has not carried out or supported even one such terrorist operation; they put Libya under an unjust siege and blockaded Iraq for 13 years. Similarly, they have put Hamas on an international "terrorism" list even though the organisation has not carried out any operations beyond the occupied territories. Why, then, don't we see a blockade against Israel, and economic sanctions, for carrying out terrorist activity day and night in the occupied territories and beyond? When will we see an end to this shameless hypocrisy?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.