Australia ordered the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat Monday after investigators indicated Israel was responsible for forging four Australian passports that were used in the killing earlier this year of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military member, in Dubai.
According to the AP, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament that the operation to kill al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room was not the first time Israel had forged Australian travel documents. He said the latest transgression breached "confidential undertakings" between the two countries that have stood for several years.
"These are not the actions of a friend," he said. "This is not what we expect from a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship."
Smith said Israel had been asked to withdraw a diplomat, the Mossad representative in Australia, within a week. The duration of the expulsion was indefinite.
Australia had notified the United States of its decision because of Canberra's security alliance with Washington and Washington's close friendship with Tel Aviv, Smith said. Australia had also notified the United Arab Emirates and all the countries whose nationals claimed to have identities stolen in the case, Smith said.
"Clearly as a result of today's events, there will be something of a cooling period so far as relevant agencies are concerned and, just as in the United Kingdom, time will tell just how long that may or may not be," Smith said.