Our Friends in Australia

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How refreshing to see some common sense, understanding and decency from a high profile politician, in this case being Tony Abbott, the Australian opposition leader:

Tony Abbott calls for restraint on Israel (yes, that is restraint ON Israel, not BY Israel as we have grown accustomed to seeing in the headlines -ed.)

Tony Abbott has called on the Rudd government not to expel an Israeli diplomat over allegations the Israeli secret service, Mossad, used forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai on January 20 this year. The Dubai authorities later established he had been murdered.

The Opposition Leader wants the Rudd government to ignore the precedent set by Gordon Brown’s government in London, which expelled an Israeli diplomat as punishment for the use of British passports in the Dubai killing.

While stressing that he did not condone the misuse of Australian passports, and while it is not yet known whether Israel was involved in the assassination, Mr Abbott pleaded for understanding for the Jewish state.

“We can never forget that Israel is a country under existential threat in a way Australians find difficult to understand,” Mr Abbott told The Weekend Australian. “It’s also the only pluralist democracy in the Middle East.

“We have to understand that Israel sometimes has to do something which mercifully other countries are spared the necessity of doing. It strikes me that it would be an overreaction to expel an Israeli diplomat.”

And he’s not alone.

Sources have also told The Weekend Australian that Australian intelligence agencies use forged passports in their clandestine work.

Analysts believe the agency most likely to do this is the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, which runs secret operations in numerous countries.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop told The Weekend Australian: “It would be naive in the extreme to believe a foreign power never used a forged passport. The Australian government would have to be very careful to ensure that Australian agencies never used forged passports.”

She said expelling an Israeli diplomat would be an “extreme step” and that she would “not want to see Kevin Rudd politicise this case in an election year”.

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