Miliband demands full cooperation from Israel over “outrageous” misuse of passports

February 18, 2010
By

David Miliband - Daily Mail

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has demanded Israel’s full cooperation in investigating the fraudulent use of British passports by the killers of a Hamas leader in Dubai last month, describing their misuse as an “outrage”.

“What the Permanent Secretary made clear is that we wanted Israel to co-operate fully with the investigation (that has been launched by Gordon Brown and is being undertaken by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency), and to send back to his government the seriousness with which we are addressing this situation,” said Miliband, according to the Times. “There has obviously been a very serious incident involving British passports and British passport holders who woke up yesterday morning extremely worried.”

He said he hoped to discuss the issue further with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman when both men were in Brussels on Monday, according to a report in Israeli daily Haaretz.

Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, met Ricketts on Thursday after London summoned him to clarify what it called an “identity theft” in which the passports of six British Israelis were used by assassins.

As he left Whitehall, Prosor said that he had been “invited” to the meeting, stressing that he had not been “summoned” in a clear signal that there was no diplomatic dressing down.

However, Prosor said that while he was “happy to cooperate with Sir Peter’s request”, he was “unable to shed any further light on the events.”

Forged passports were apparently used by an 11-member hit squad that killed Al Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January. The British travel documents had the names of Britons who live in Israel.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that the “defrauding of British passports is a very serious issue “and that “the government will continue to take all the action that is necessary to protect British nationals from identity fraud.”

In Dublin, Zion Evrony, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland said following a meeting with David Cooney, the secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs, adopted a similar stance to Prosor’s.

“I told him I don’t know anything about the event – beyond that it is not customary to share the content of diplomatic meetings,” Evrony said before departing in his official car, the Times said.

Ireland initially said that the three forged Irish passports were “completely fake”, but on Thursday conceded that they had been cloned from the travel documents of three genuine Irish citizens.

France on Thursday followed the British and Irish examples and demanded that Israel explain how a forged French passport was used by the assassins.

“We are asking for explanations from Israel’s embassy in France over the circumstances of the use of a fake French passport in the assassination of a Hamas member in Dubai,” the Foreign Ministry said.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli official reported that the Irish government had contacted Britain, Germany and France to recommend they conduct a joint investigation into the incident.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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