Communist Party of Australia


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive


Press Fund


About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction

CPA Policies

CPA statements

Contact Us

facebook, twitter

Major Issues





Climate Change



What's On







Issue #1446      10 March 2010


Australia must toughen stance on state terrorism

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith are reported to be fuming still about the theft of the identities of Australian citizens to carry out the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 20. They have not expressed any regrets about the death of the Hamas commander or that he was not brought instead before some relevant authority to answer for any alleged crimes. Following an established pattern, Israel will neither confirm nor deny its intelligence agency Mossad was involved in this latest complex operation. Causes for the Australian government’s rage appear to be limited to the fact that the passports and identities of three Australians living in Israel were hijacked for the blatantly illegal “hit”.

The anger appears to be real. Sometimes governments feel constrained to make the appropriate outraged sounds in public but express their sympathy to foreign governments under international pressure behind closed doors. Not in this case it would seem. The Israeli ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, was called to a meeting with the foreign minister and the upshot was a frosty statement by Smith:

“I’ve made it crystal clear to the ambassador that if the results of (our) investigation cause us to come to the conclusion that the abuse of Australian passports was in any way sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend,” Smith said.

Shortly thereafter, Australia unexpectedly abstained on a vote at the United Nations to urge both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to investigate findings contained in the Goldstone Report that both Hamas and Israel had committed war crimes during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008. Australia had previously opposed any such recommendation. Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain, France and New Zealand also changed their vote. Several European countries were also caught up in the identity thefts that facilitated the Dubai assassination. All up, 27 foreign passports were forged and used in the operation.

In 2004, New Zealand downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel following a similar case of identity theft. It is not the first time such a transgression has been attempted against Australians, either. Howard-era foreign minister Alexander Downer cannot recall whether he was personally involved in slapping the wrist of Israeli diplomats over similar attempts during his tenure.

Despite this abuse of the diplomatic relationship by Israel and current tensions, Australian governments are proud of their record of support for Israel or, to be more precise, their defence of illegal acts carried out by a succession of expansionist right-wing governments in Tel Aviv.

Hamas is a controversial movement, but it has led a stiff and popular resistance to illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and shown itself to be a capable administrator of welfare services that the Palestinian Authority itself has not been able to provide.

Israe has constantly thwarted the numerous peace processes that might have achieved the widely sought two state solution, i.e. neighbouring states of Israel and Palestine living in peace and security.

The Rudd government is right to be angry at the theft of three Australians’ identities but that violation of the norms of international relations is minor when compared to the outrages carried out against the Palestinian people by the Israeli military.

The government would not be going it alone or even taking a minority stance if it took a stand against such crimes. It would have the support of the sizeable Israeli peace movement. The overwhelming majority of the nations represented at the United Nations support the withdrawal of Israeli forces of occupation to the country’s pre-1967 borders and an end to its sabotage of the establishment of a viable neighbouring Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Australian government must get angry about the core issues of state terrorism behind the theft of Australian passports.  

Next article –  IWD march in Sydney

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA