The diplomatic fallout from January’s killing of a Hamas military commander in a Dubai hotel room continues to injure relations between the UK and Israel.
London is convinced Tel Aviv was behind the assassination and consequently the forging of six British passports used by the suspected killers.
The British government is now seeking assurances that the affair will never be repeated, but not before expelling an Israeli diplomat.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband told parliament:
“Such misuse of British passports is intolerable. It presents a hazard for the safety of British nationals in the region. It also represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK only adds insult to injury.”
Britain’s actions could put pressure on other countries whose passports were also cloned to take similar steps.
For its part Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the Dubai killing.
The UK’s Foreign Office has also taken the unusual step of warning UK travellers to Israel to handover their passports to officials there only when absolutely necessary.