New Mossad rep to head to UK
Israel to send replacement for diplomat expelled by Britain over passport affair, Ynet learns
On Tuesday, Britain's foreign secretary announced, without saying so explicitly, the expulsion of the Mossad's representative in London in response to the forging of United Kingdom passports – however, despite the dramatic statement, Israel will soon send a replacement for the expelled representative, Ynet learned.
Senior officials in Israel said the government does not wish to escalate the diplomatic confrontation as result of the forged passport affair. The officials said that Israel decided not to respond to the expulsion of its diplomat and that it does not intend to expel a British diplomat from Israel, as is the custom in similar cases.
The decision had been taken following discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who are currently in Washington, and with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting Brussels at this time.
The only official response articulated by the government is the one issued by Minister Lieberman, who said that no proof pointing to Israeli involvement in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's assassination had been presented.
The senior officials said that Britain's decision to expel the Israeli diplomat was received with great surprise, in light of Israel's cooperation with the British probe ordered by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"It's unclear how Britain, which is a party to the fight against terror alongside Israel, took such hurtful step, which undermines the prolific cooperation between the two states on this matter," one official said.
Another senior official added: "We have no explanation for the step taken by Britain, with the exception of internal political power struggles within the Labor party ahead of the upcoming elections. We were not presented with details proving Israel's involvement in forging the passports…yet for the sake of continuing our ties, it would be proper to keep a low profile. It's clear to us that British and Israeli intelligence agencies will continue to cooperate."