Nothing illustrates the sensitivity of the European Union’s relationship with Israel better than the statement which EU foreign ministers issued on Monday complaining about the use of forged European passports in last month’s killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas commander, in Dubai. The statement contained several sentences that were masterpieces of waffle, such as the following: “The EU … believes that its passports remain among the most secure in the world, fully meeting all international standards.”
The statement was, however, remarkable chiefly for its reluctance to spell out that the EU holds Israel responsible for the flagrant misuse of identity documents belonging to European citizens. It could hardly be otherwise, of course. There is insufficient evidence at this stage to state with certainty that Israel’s agents used the false passports and killed Mabhouh. Instead, it was left to a couple of EU foreign ministers to conduct some finger-wagging in one-on-one meetings with Avigdor Lieberman, their combative Israeli counterpart, who just happened to be in Brussels on Monday.