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Inside the Middle East
March 8, 2010
Posted: 854 GMT

By CNN's Paula Hancocks

The drip feed of information from Dubai’s police chief has kept the assassination of a Hamas leader in his Dubai hotel room on the front pages for about a month and a half.

Every day, without fail, the newspapers in the United Arab Emirates reserve part of the front page for an update, an opinion – even the tiniest hint of fresh information.

This is likely the intention of Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan. By releasing a tidbit here and there, the story stays alive and the international spotlight stays on Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, which Khalfan says he is 100 percent sure is behind the hit.

Local newspapers in the UAE reflect the police line – the question of who else may be responsible for the assassination is absent.

It is a far cry from Israel's media, which has moved on. You are hard pressed to find the story in the newspaper these days – let alone on the front page.

Israeli journalists and columnists have had differing opinions on whether Mossad was responsible or not, or whether it even matters as the end result for Israel is the same: One less Hamas official to worry about.

The drip feed of information is also viewed with suspicion and some ridicule. Ma'ariv newspaper described the Dubai police chief's daily revelations as "tales of 1001 nights" and added of Mossad: "It couldn't be that the oft-praised organization ... is being exposed by an Arab in a keffiya like a figure in an American slapstick movie."

But they do say that any publicity is good publicity and that does appear to be the case for Mossad within Israel. Smart entrepreneurs were quick to react and cashed in on an overwhelming increase in demand for Mossad-related memorabilia.

Eran Davidov, marketing manager of israel-catalog.com, is selling T-shirts with the captions: "Don't mess with the Mossad" and "Mossad's Dubai operation." He said: "This story did something to people, far beyond what we expected."

Rami Igra, a former senior Mossad official tells CNN: "When an event of this kind becomes public knowledge it captures people's imagination, this shows how the Israeli people identify with such a just cause."

And during the recent Jewish holiday of Purim, where the custom is to dress up, there was a new trend in town that copied the security footage released of agents following the Hamas leader before his assassination: Dressing up in tennis gear.

Filed under: Dubai •Hamas •Israel


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Filipe   March 8th, 2010 5:46 pm ET

So far, the Dumbai Police Cheif has yet to convince any law enforcement agency in the entire world that anything he has said is remotely true.

If he had any real evidence and real identities of suspects-- arrest warrants would be flooding the world.

But, as typical- nothing but finger pointing, hand waving and jaw flapping.

He should put up--or shut up!

A. Smith, Oregon   March 9th, 2010 11:40 pm ET

When you are falsely accused of a wrongdoing, then rub that wrongdoing in the faces of the accusers. If the Dubai police chief wants to turn himself into a traveling circus promoting how dangerous it is to kidnap, torture, execute and mutilate Israeli soldiers, let him!

The laugh it seems is on the entire Arabic world that is eating up day after day of half baked speculations and false clues by Inspector NotAClue.

All of those Arabic terrorists are now looking behind their backs for the assassins breathing down their necks.

John A   March 10th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

A.Smith many things can be proved, but we really on a free and unbiased media to make proof public. Any idea where such a media can be found?

If Watergate was not uncovered, we would all be taught that the thought of such deeds was a false allegations made by people running around like headless chickens.

Therefore you would do well to realize that governments don't immediately declassify proof for a reason, the reason is deception.

Remember the weapons of mass destruction scam. Then your government had proof of things which never existed. So what has the definition of truth become? Is it whatever your government controlled media tells you?

miriam   March 11th, 2010 7:10 am ET

John A,

It is well known that Israel has about the most free and unbiased media.

earle,florida   March 12th, 2010 2:50 am ET

Good reporting as usual Ms Hancock,...but I'm still dumbfounded by t his perplexing quagmire,...? Thanks Paula

earle,florida   March 12th, 2010 2:53 am ET

Good reporting as usual Ms Hancocks,...but I'm still dumbfounded by this perplexing quagmire,...? Thanks Paula

John A   March 13th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

Miriam, more constructive self criticism.... Obviously I'm being sarcastic.

I have asked you this question before and you failed to answer. Possibly this is an opportunity to ask again. So, is there a single thing you would criticize Israel for or in your eyes does Israel remain perfect?

You will note the problem with most Israelis is the inability to answer this question. All other peoples from all other nations try to hold their governments accountable, which is the only way to achieve good government. Sadly Israeli's tend to be like Miriam i.e. "we are the most democratic, we have the best media and we are the least corrupt". bla bla bla

Clearly any neutral observer will then ask why Israel has so many issues that it has failed to deal with and why does Israel resolve issues with military?

How can Israel even claim to be democratic when it initiated an exodus of Palestinians from Palestine and now refuses to let those people who were born in the land to return. Israel does not accept the majority of people born in the land and has turned them into refuges, simply because they are not Jewish. And again their will be no confession of guilt from Israel, they will like Miriam keep on telling the lie and hope that the rest of us will believe it.

So go on Miriam answer the question and tell us about Israels faults!! After all you are fantastic at taking the speck of dust from your brothers eyes, why dont you be equally fantastic as to take the plank from your own eye.

miriam   March 13th, 2010 5:49 pm ET

John A,

If you had any knowledge of Israeli society and politics you would realize how rediculous your comments are.

There's plenty wrong with Israeli policy and that is up to the Israeli people to express which they do so in frequent elections and in other frameworks.

You state that all other nations hold their governments accountable.
That is an obvious stretch of the imagination. In fact Israel's government is held accountable continually by an over-free media and a population whose freedom of expression is probably unequalled.

Arabs initiated war on the Jewish state and as a result Arabs were unfortunately, deceitfully, encouraged to flee by their Arab leaders who promised them a quick return once the Jews were destroyed.Jewish leaders actually encouraged them to stay.

Simultaneously, Jews in Arab lands were expelled, turned into refugees, with the majority returning to the land of their ancestors and absorbed into society.

Those Arabs who did not flee from Israel remain in the land and are Israeli citizens with more democratic and civil rights than any Arab across the Middle East and probably Europe as well.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 15th, 2010 4:12 am ET

Two Britons have been sentenced to a month's imprisonment for indecency after a local woman took objection to them kissing in a restaurant.

It appears that harboring a Internationally known terrorist, a known kidnapper, a person that appears to have claimed to had a direct part in the murder and then the mutilation of two Israeli soldiers is nothing worthy of even the consequence of mentioning for Dubai, however two UK citizens kissing one another in a Dubai restaurant warrants 30 days in jail.

miriam   March 15th, 2010 12:28 pm ET

A. Smith,

The UAE's year old media law doesn't permit the criticism of the government or the economy.

It is no surprise that what is reported from the emirate has to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Rachael   March 18th, 2010 10:04 am ET

The story that the Arab League forced the Palestinians to leave has been disproved, simply by reading declassified Israeli, CIA, and British intelligence sources. They were forced out through faked radio broadcasts, and massacres of civilians by Irgun and Lehi terrorists. Some of those terrorists, of course, went on to be politicians. What a country!

Now why would such a blameless society lie for so long, Miriam?

miriam   March 18th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

Rachael,

I didn't mention the Arab League although in 1946, soon after its formation, it had suggested that women and children be evacuated to their countries in event of war.

Many took up the offer knowing that hostilities were growing and because the economic situation was deteriorating.

The Arab leaders I refered to were the internal ones.
Initially Christian Arabs left out of fear and intimidation by Muslims and then Muslims fled, raising worry from the internal leadership, the Arab Higher Committee and National Committees, who then intimidated them into not leaving by confiscating and burning property and spreading propaganda.

This had limited success since most of the National Committee leaders had themselves fled setting a presidence and an example to the rest of the population who were falsely led to believe that Arab victory was imminent and they would be returning.

John A   March 19th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

Rachel the US Liberty was attacked by Israel and it was agreed with the US government that Egypt should be blamed. This was a US / Israeli way to blame Arabs for aggression and allow Israel to expand in the pretence of a defensive campaign. Even though it was Israel who started the agression under false flag attacks.
This is also declassified under Israeli, American and British intelligence sources

heinrich   March 20th, 2010 4:10 pm ET

John A

Your revisionist rewriting of history and pathological hatred of Israel reminds me of Josef Goebbels' mind and behavior. Are you by any chance related to him? Sind Sie sein Enkel?

miriam   March 21st, 2010 7:19 am ET

John A,

Stop spinning the story.

It was a mistake and misunderstanding.

That's war.

John A   March 21st, 2010 2:54 pm ET

Miriam, the Lavon affair is also proof that Israel waged false flag attacks to blame Muslims and start a middle east war. It is proof that supports the claim that Israel has plotted war to expand its states boarders, ever since the UN allowed European Jewish refugees to have a state in Palestine. Basically it is more proof that you are wrong and your claims are garbage.

miriam   March 22nd, 2010 7:08 pm ET

John A,

As previously discussed, the Lavon Affair involved a double agent and no intent by Israel to start a ME war that was already in process.

The re-establishment of a homeland for Jews dates back to the The League of Nations, The Balfour Declaration and historical Jewish nationalism, all of which preceeded WW2.

Dishonest Reporter Award 2010 – Honest Reporting | IsraelSeen.com   December 22nd, 2010 12:00 pm ET

[...] Khalfan never produced a proverbial smoking gun, and reporters like CNN's Paula Hancocks saw through the media circus: Every day, without fail, the newspapers in the [...]


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