Guilty Before Trial: The Mabhouh Assassination and the Incrimination of Israel

For weeks newspapers across Europe and the Middle East have been obsessed with the January 19 assassination of Hamas terror chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Although he was a man whose hands were dripping with the blood of innocent victims including infants, the press corps was far more critical of what was described as an Israeli assassination team of 26 that used foreign passports to conceal their identities and commit the murder.

Dubai police officials accused Mossad of the act, even though there was little direct evidence for this assertion. British newspapers blamed Israel unreservedly for Mabhouh’s death, even though there was some evidence Egyptian and Jordanian secret police were on his trail for some time.

The Telegraph claimed that British immigrants to Israel had their passports removed and copied at passport control in Tel Aviv's airport, a practice that never occurred.

The Times argued the paper had evidence Prime Minister Netanyahu personally ordered the hit, but the evidence wasn’t produced.

Even the New York Times joined the chorus by insisting Dubai assassinations by Israel operatives occur routinely.

And French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, in a state of high dudgeon, said, “[W]e are against this form of assassination; whoever orders them should be punished. Like the British and the Germans we have asked Israeli authorities to explain themselves.” Of course he neglected to point out the many times French Foreign Legion personnel have engaged in assassination.

It is instructive that the Dubai authorities have not provided forensic evidence that points the finger of guilt at Israel, despite the widespread belief it was a Mossad operation. A few commentators, notably Alan Dershowitz, maintain that if Israel killed Mabhouh, it had every right to do so since he was a combatant in the war against the Jewish state.