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MIDDLE EAST: Papers in moderate Arab states slam Israel over alleged Mossad hit in Dubai

February 23, 2010 |  2:30 pm

Dubai-mabhouh The United States is counting on their allies in the so-called moderate Arab states to help in forming a united front with Israel and Europe to face off against Iran as it tries to master nuclear technology in what the West and some experts believe is a drive at developing the atomic bomb.

But following last month's assassination of a leading Hamas figure in the United Arab Emirates state of Dubai by alleged agents for Israeli spy agency Mossad, such countries appear in no mood these days to make nice with Israel, judging by the content of the articles in moderate and even pro-government Arab newspapers these days.

"Israel carried out its dirty operation and violated the security of an Arab country that has its influence in the region and its Arab weight," said a commentator in Tuesday's al-Ittihad, a pro-government U.A.E. paper. "Israel knows quite well that its crime is a political one in the first place and against an Arab state that enjoys full sovereignty on its land and not against the 'Hamas' movement."

The Arab media has always condemned Israel for what it describes as the continued occupation of Palestinian lands, treatment of Palestinian aspirations and incursions on neighboring lands like Lebanon and Syria.

But the attacks following the Dubai caper appear to focus more on Israel's general conduct internationally, and that could have consequences as the U.S. attempts to cobble together a coalition to confront Iran.

The U.A.E. is in an especially sensitive position when it comes to Iran. It remains the Islamic Republic's main sources for goods and banking services, though it is under pressure to curtail its relationship with Tehran over what the U.S. describes as the Islamic Republic's headlong drive toward nuclear weapons capability and reckless foreign policies.

But Arabs seemed to describe Israel as also reckless, and not just when it comes to Palestinians. One commentator in al-Ittihad marveled at the "arrogance of power" behind the alleged Mossad operation, which was chronicled in detail by Dubai police.

"It is obvious that the Mossad acted as if there was no police in Dubai," wrote Ahmad Yusuf Ahmad.

English-language daily the National, among other news outlets, said that four additional suspects had been added to the 11 people already identified as having used fake European passports in the operation, and two Palestinians already in custody.

By allegedly cloning European passports for the job, Egypt's pro-government Al-Jumhuriyah newspaper said the operation showed that Israel did not respect even its own allies. "The European condemnation is not enough as a response to Israel's dealing lightly with its allies and friends and its exploitation of their official documents to carry out a criminal operation," said an editorial.

Jordan's pro-government Al-Ra'i newspaper said that Israel has been "using intelligence attacks against Arabs" since its founding.

Commentaries in Saudi Arabia's al-Jazira, of Riyadh, called Israel an "evil entity" while al-Madina, of Jedda, describe Israel's alleged assassination as "state terror."

"When will the world understand that the so-called Israeli state is merely a gang that was founded, governed, and ruled by a group of criminals and outlaws?" said a commentary in al-Madina.

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: A photograph of slain Hamas leader Mahmoud Mabhouh. Credit: Getty Images
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