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Today in the Dubai Murder Mystery

Britain denies knowledge, Hamas blusters, Dershowitz weighs in

Marc Tracy
February 19, 2010

Maybe the biggest piece of hard news to break today is the Daily Mail’s report that Britain knew that Mossad planned to kill chief Hamas weapons man Mahmoud Mabhouh beforehand, and specifically knew the Israeli spy agency planned to use fake British passports to do it. The U.K. government quickly denied the allegation. Perhaps apropos of that, or perhaps out of a general abundance of caution, Hamas threatened Western nations who allow Mossad agents to operate on their territories or with their support.

Meanwhile, at least in the British press, most outlets are less pissed than they are impressed: “The public mood in Britain is remarkably pro-Israeli on this issue,” a columnist argues, citing one article that said, “What the secret agents did—and, critically, what we saw them do—was compelling and breathtaking in its cleverness. Box office, in other words.” Even so, legendary Mossad chief Meir Dagan—whom some in Israel have called to step down in the wake of this mess—is staying out of the spotlight, as he tends to do.

Finally, in case you were wondering whether Mossad’s assassination—sorry, Mossad’s alleged assassination—was legal and moral, Alan Dershowitz has your answer: yes, and yes.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.