Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, speaking on the BBC’s Question Time in Glasgow, 25th March 2010, has called for a review of trading relationships with Israel: "you can’t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in".
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.