Already facing the wrath of the United States over its building plans
in East Jerusalem, Israel has embarked on a campaign to placate Britain
in order to avoid what one official described as “a war on two fronts”.
Foreign Office was quickly assured that Israel had no intention of
engaging in tit-for-tat retaliation by ordering out Britain’s military
attaché to Tel Aviv, a step demanded by some Right-wing Israeli MPs.
Instead, the Jewish state sought to put on a brave face over the
expulsion of its diplomat, believed to be the Mossad station chief in
London, after Israel was held responsible for the use of cloned British
passports in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai.
Israeli government official insisted that Britain’s response was less
robust than some had feared.
“It could have been much worse,” he
said. “I wouldn’t call it a slap on the wrist, but it was more a
symbolic reprimand than anything else.”
Israel’s press drew much
the same conclusion and sought to portray the expulsion more as more
diplomatic bagatelle than full-blown crisis.
Under a headline
declaring “We Got Off Easy”, Israel’s mass circulation Yediot Ahronot
newspaper wrote: “Whoever used forged British passports knew that he
might have to pay the price. And the price set by the… >>>