Political uproar in Australia over expulsion of Israeli diplomat

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Australian government and opposition leaders on Tuesday exchanged barbs over the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat a day earlier in the response to the January assassination of a top Hamas operative in Dubai in which forged Australian passports were used.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith announced on Monday that an investigation had determined that Israel was behind the forgery of four Australian passports used in the hit that took out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, an elusive terrorist who was behind numerous attacks and was responsible for acquiring weapons for Hamas.

Smith ordered the Israeli embassy to send one of its diplomats home as punishment. But opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop slammed Smith over his reaction, noting in interviews with the press that most nations, including Australia, regularly use forged passports for security operations.

Smith responded by calling Bishop "unfit to occupy a position of trust."

British Foreign Minister David Miliband also expelled an Israeli diplomat from London in March after claiming that Israel was doctored 12 British passports used in the assassination.

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