For immediate release.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Media Release
SALMOND: TRADE RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL CAN’T BE “NORMAL” AFTER MOSSAD PASSPORT FORGERIES
Scotland’s First Minister has called for a review of the UK’s trading relationships with Israel, after it emerged that Israel’s Mossad had forged British passports for use in the assassination of a Palestinian Hamas leader.
Speaking on the BBC’s Question Time, Alex Salmond told the audience, “you can’t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in”.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced last week that a Mossad agent was to be expelled from the UK over the Israeli intelligence agency’s “intolerable” misuse of British passports in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January.
Salmond said the response “should be more than expelling a diplomat”, which he derided as a “diplomatic dance”, and added, “this has implications for example in trading relationships”.
The First Minister did not specify whether he intended to review Scotland’s own trading relationship with Israel, including future trade missions by a Scottish Government-funded agency. Scottish Development International cancelled a trade mission to Israel in February 2009 in the wake of the violence in Gaza that took 1400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives. However, there were protests earlier this year when the visit went ahead in January.
Salmond’s statements may also spell the end for a controversial exhibition on “Israel's Contribution to Medicine, Science and Technology” planned for the Scottish Parliament at the end of April. According to a recent Scotsman article, the parliament has already “been condemned by a group of leading doctors for staging an exhibition celebrating ‘Israeli technology’ in the wake of the country's bombing campaign in Gaza.” A public petition to the parliament by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) urging its cancellation has attracted over 700 signatures in its first week.
SPSC chair, Mick Napier welcomed the First Minister’s statement: “In relation to Israel, the Scottish Government is streets ahead of its Westminster counterpart. Brown and Miliband attach greater significance to the forging of British passports than to both the assassination they facilitated and to Israel’s massacre of 1400 mostly civilians in Gaza last year.
“The Scottish Government position is now nearing that of the general public, the STUC [Scottish Trades Union Congress], and many other groups who have been calling for sanctions against Israel for some time now. Anyone can boycott Israel, but only governments can impose sanctions.”
Notes for editors:
(Question Time transcript at Note 7)
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.
For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591
(default reply to this email)
2. For “intolerable” quote from Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, see:
BBC News, Tuesday, 23 March 2010: Britain expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai passport row
3. Scottish Development International (SDI) is “Funded entirely by the Scottish government”
Details of their 10-15th January 2010 mission are found here:
The scheduled Feb 2009 mission never took place.
4. Holyrood slated over Israeli exhibition
The Scotsman, 24 March 2010
5. Public Petition “Calling on the Scottish Parliament to cancel the Israel’s Contribution to Medicine, Science and Technology exhibition scheduled to run in the Scottish Parliament from 27-29 April 2010.”:
748 signatures as of Mar 30th 2010; lodged on Mar 22; closes April 9th
6. From the STUC Annual Congress (20-22 April 2009):
“The Scottish Trades Union Congress has backed boycotts and disinvestment, and called for sanctions against the state of Israel because of the state’s failure to comply with international laws and agreed principles of human rights.”
7. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond spoke on the BBC’s Question Time in Glasgow, 25th March 2010:
Salmond’s statements come 3 minutes into above clip (55 mins, 16 secs)
A transcript of the relevant section is below:
Is the expulsion of a diplomat the most appropriate penalty for an act of terrorism?
This is the [UK] government expelling somebody from the Israeli Embassy, supposedly a Mossad [Israeli Intelligence] station chief, after it was alleged that 12 British passports were forged by Mossad in the murder or death or killing of a senior Hamas official. The question is whether this is an appropriate penalty or whether they’re in effect being allowed to get away scot-free.
It’s not enough.
I saw today this described – the action of expelling the Mossad operator – as a “diplomatic dance”. One of the commentators said it was a diplomatic dance, the sort of thing you do as a gesture.
Now it’s not enough, because friendly countries don’t steal the passports of other countries’ citizens and use that as part of an arrangement to assassinate their political enemies.
And therefore it has to be treated in the context of the seriousness of what the Foreign Secretary believes that Israel have been doing.
What would be better?
Well, what I’m going to suggest, that presumably, stealing peoples’ passports – and indeed the assassination – but stealing passports must be a criminal offence; surely if the Foreign Secretary has now identified to his satisfaction that Israel are responsible, then he should be thinking of legal action. Secondly, in terms of the relationship with the Israeli government, it should be more than expelling a diplomat, there should be an arrangement whereby if that is the belief that the Foreign Secretary has, it should be published, and therefore the next step would be to say this has implications for example in trading relationships – you can’t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in according to the Foreign Secretary. But certainly, whatever measures you take, it cannot just be a diplomatic dance.