Australia expels Israeli diplomat

By Dan Goldberg, May 27, 2010

Australia followed Britain's lead this week, ordering the dismissal of a diplomat from the Israeli Embassy in Canberra after an investigation concluded there was "no doubt" that the Jewish state had doctored four Australian passports used in the assassination of a senior Hamas leader in January.

Stressing that the decision was taken "much more in sorrow than in anger," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said: "These are not the actions of a friend. No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government."

A spokesman for the embassy in Canberra expressed "regret" at the decision, adding that it was not "reflective" of the relationship between the two countries.

Michael Danby, a Jewish MP in the Labour government of Kevin Rudd, criticised the decision, but said bilateral relations between Canberra and Jerusalem - which date back to World War I - would remain intact.

Last updated: 3:25pm, May 27 2010