The latest on the Australia/Israel Mossad scandal:
The Australian government is far from satisfied with the response so far from Israel on the alleged use of Australian passports by a Mossad death squad.
In an interview with the Herald, a restrained Kevin Rudd said no more information had been forthcoming since Australia first protested last week.
”There is a way to go yet with our friends in Israel to resolving these matters to the satisfaction of the Australian government,” the Prime Minister said.
”We continue to be in contact with them. We’ll continue to work with our friends in Israel through multiple agencies and at the political level as well.”
The federal opposition has been conspicuous in its refusal to criticise Israel.
A week ago the Liberal senator Julian McGauran released a statement attacking the government for criticising Israel.
He said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, should ”start acting more like Australia’s chief diplomat and stop publicly pointing the finger at Israel as the culprit of the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh assassination”.
“The government has failed to delink their outrage of the forged passports from the assassination of the Hamas terrorist,” he said. ”They are two separate issues. The tracking down of terrorist leaders is an acceptable act in the context of the war on terror.”
The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, refused to comment when asked whether he stood by Senator McGauran’s statement.
Later, he defended Israel, saying nobody knew the full story.
”Before I start, or anyone else starts questioning the motives of other countries, I think we should get to the bottom of this,” he said. ”I don’t want to assume bad faith on the part of a friendly democracy.”
Mr Rudd did not want to comment when asked by the Herald about the Coalition’s decision to defend Israel.
”I’m a lifelong supporter, defender and friend of the state of Israel …” he said. ”However, when it comes to this particular matter, I have a responsibility as Australian Prime Minister to get to the bottom of it and to establish that Australia’s interests are being properly safeguarded in the future and I will do that.”