Ian O'Doherty: Only one group could be behind the latest hit -- the Irish Jews
It was the assassination -- or 'assasination' as the Irish Anti War Movement misspelled it yesterday -- that has been heard around the world.
In scenes reminiscent of something from a Freddie Forsyth novel, a supposedly crack team of 11 hit men (that woman was almost certainly a man in drag) entered a hotel in Dubai, targeted a top Hamas terrorist whom they had been trailing for years and promptly took him out.
Before equally promptly finding their faces splashed all over the world's media.
The widespread belief that it was Mossad behind the operation has led to an unprecedented orgy of Israel-bashing, with the hoary old arguments about the only democracy in the region being a 'rogue' state or, even more inaccurately an 'apartheid' state -- a disgusting allegation at the best of times, particularly when you consider that Israeli Arabs have infinitely more rights than their brethren in Arab states.
The irony, of course, is that it hasn't even been conclusively proved that Mossad were the people behind the operation. And while a betting man would certainly have a flutter on their involvement, one frequently overlooked fact is that there have already been arrests -- of two Palestinians who were pulled in Jordan and have been extradited to Dubai.
So, if the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was indeed those pesky Israelis and not the result of a Hamas power struggle or an assassination carried out by one of the many Arab groups who loathe the Islamist Hamas with as much passion as the Israelis, were they right to do it?
Frankly, I find it hard to understand anyone who doesn't simply shrug their shoulders and realise that it's one fewer terrorist planning murderous attacks on civilians.
Al-Mabhouh certainly had enough form to merit his execution -- he was personally responsible for the murder of IDF soldiers in the '80s and was, by all accounts, in Dubai to arrange an arms deal with the main Hamas sponsor, Iran.
Any country has the right to defend itself from attack, and Israel has even more right to do so than any other country on earth for the simple reason that when a country loses a war it faces a few years of rebuilding and recovery. If and when Israel loses a war it will simply cease to exist.
So, when you know that you are facing the possibility of complete and total annihilation rather than just military defeat, the niceties of international law tend to become rather moot.
One of the reasons why many military analysts aren't so quick to immediately pin the blame -- or should I say credit -- on Mossad is the shoddiness of the attack.
All 11 have been clearly identified and were identified quickly.
For a country that prides itself on the power and ability of their two main security services, Mossad and their domestic counterparts Shin Bet, such looseness rather dents the aura of invincibility that surrounds them. An aura, it must be said, that has taken a bit of a battering over recent years with such humiliating climb-downs as having to provide the antidote to one of their targets after it emerged that they had poisoned him.
Not exactly the handiwork of a crack team of spooks.
But the story took a fantastic turn for the surreal yesterday.
MPAC, the Muslims Public Affair Committee, which recently issued not-very-thinly-veiled death threats against myself and Kevin Myers (when a group of Muslim extremists publicly announces that: "we will not shirk our responsibility, we cannot be blamed for defending ourselves" then there can be only one conclusion) have figured out who is responsible for the attack: Irish Jews.
Ireland's Jewish community is not exactly renowned for being particularly militant. Indeed, one of the criticisms I often level against some of my mates who happen to be Jewish is that they are not vocal enough in their support of Israel, but according to MPAC: "Scheming Zionists used Ireland's generous welcome as a means to launch their own insidious campaign for a homeland, a land they convinced the world was without a people".
Now one can be forgiven for raising a quizzical eyebrow at the notion that arriving Jews received a "generous welcome" -- certainly the Jews who were attacked in the Church-organised pogrom in Limerick in 1904 might have a different perspective.
But the group then goes on to say: "The three alleged Mossad assassins (who) either illegally procured Irish passports or were indeed part of Ireland's Jewish community. The three Irish passport holders were named as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron."
They're not exactly very Jewish names, but hey, let's not let the facts get in the way when there's a chance to launch an attack on the integrity of Irish Jews that would be repugnant if it wasn't so amusingly implausible.
But maybe my friends at MPAC have raised an interesting opportunity -- the next time I pop down to the rather fantastic corner bakery where I live to buy some of their delicious Challah bread, I'll let it slip that I have an Irish passport for sale -- only one previous owner and thanks to the fact that I've been bloody skint for the last 12 months, it hasn't been used much either.