back to article Foreign Office changes tourist advice after Israeli inquiry

The Foreign Office has revised travel advice for Brits visiting Israel after the UK government blamed the Jewish State for cloning UK passports for use in an operation to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai. British citizens - especially those with passports issued before 2006 without biometric chips containing digitally-signed …


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  1. Stef 4


    "only to hand over their passports to third parties including Israeli officials when absolutely necessary"

    if you're a foreigner travelling in Israel, I'm guessing that whenever an Israeli official demands your passport, it is pretty bloody necessary.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > British citizens - especially those with passports issued before 2006 without biometric chips containing digitally-signed photos of the holder - are advised only to hand over their passports to "third parties including Israeli officials when absolutely necessary".

    So, tell Israeli passport officer you're not going to hand your passport over to be checked because you don't trust them? Next DailyFail headline - plane load of British tourists arrested in Israel as they wouldn't present passports at passport control?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Not too likely.

      Firstly, all the cloned passports are from people residing in Israel, not casual tourists, which implies the "cloning" did not happen via the Israeli Border Police and tourists are unlikely to be targetted. And any advice to tourists from the Foreign Office is usually ignored by 99.9% of travellers anyway, they simply don't bother to read the bumph, so I can't see a whole planeload all getting antsie with the IBP.

      Secondly, the Israelis are keen to get tourists to their country, and are unlikley to be as heavy-handed as you suggest. The standard response to you not providing a valid passport at the entry point is simply going to be a polite refusal to let you enter the country. If the airline decides to let you back on their jet is another story. Unless you have a real desire to reprise Tom Hank's role in "The Terminal", I can't really recommend the arrivals halls of any Israeli airports I know as particulalry fun places to while away the hours.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Have you travelled to Israel ?

        They are the most "heavy handed" in the world - even when leaving the country. They will split up a party (e.g. of two or three businessmen, or a couple on holiday) and question them in different rooms to validate their reasons for being in the country - when they are trying to exit !

        The reason - the risk of terror. Hence El Al is the airline least likely to suffer from an incident.

        The Foreign Office advice is as useful as a chocolate teapot - it's completely impractical and is just there so it looks like they are being "robust" with Israel. Farce.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      not necessary but

      extremely advisable...

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: necessary

      That one made me laugh. I can imagine how it would go in Blighty if, when asked by an official for your passport, your response were to be to ask them to first provide their credentials and a good reason for the request.

      Nice to see that the FO think that Israeli officials are more enlightened and open to debate over their requests for identification than those who fall under the aegis of their colleagues down the way at the HO.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a first

    Not a first

    Check the "Notable cases of misuse"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simpler solution - don't go there.

    I will not go to Israel (even though I'd like to), because their government act like spoilt brats.

    When they grow up and start behaving like adults, I'd love to visit. Until then - forget it.

    This is just another wonderful example of why nobody should visit Israel. I don't know how much the tourism industry contributes to their economy, but maybe it's significant enough for its loss to be noted.

    Shame - all the Israelis I know are great people, and really don't deserve such stupidity from their government.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ever been to Israel?

    ... evidently not!#

    Israeli official wants your passport, and they always do, you hand it over. End of story.

    As for the implication in the article that you're safe from Mossad cloning your passport because it's got a chip or two in it..... they're having a laugh! If only one country could and would clone your biometric passport just by looking at it, it that would be Israel.

    Do I think I'm safe because I posted this anonomously??????

  6. asdf Silver badge

    easy solution

    The easiest way to solve the problem and punish Israel is not visit there at all. With all the instability and hate in the region probably the sane choice plus maybe it would cause Israel to also rethink their land grab strategy. I know a lot of merkins like me use to stick up for Israel but lately they have become our "buddy" like North Korea is to China and don't deserve our money.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I visited a country and the hotel took a photocopy of my passport, well my bank has too.

    But I was under the impression it was illegal to make a copy of a government document, such as a passport, money etc?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Given the foreign office actually advise YOU to make a photocopy of your passport when travelling, then no, it's not illegal. Stick to black and white tho.

      Even if it was illegal, what are the British police going to do, extradite the hotel staff??

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm not certain about elsewhere, however here in the states, making a copy of the document is not illegal, however attempting to use said copy is what is illegal. Copies are used regularly for backup of important documents, in fact, it is generally recommended here to have a photocopy of your passport stored in a safe place in case something happens to the original, as the copy can be used by official sources to expedite a proper replacement.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: People that live in glass houses....

      "......because their government act like spoilt brats...." Hmmmm, and everywhere else is just the picture of calm, careful deliberation - not! Our own UK government is spinning like crazy to try and look tough in the run-up to an election which they know they have little chance of winning. Millygirl is simply positioning himself for the inevitable Labour leadership race that will follow our unelected PM's ejection from office. In truth, we have a lot more to lose from a break in relations with Israel than they do with the UK - we already import far more arms tech from Isreal than they buy from us (such as our drones). Gaza alone receives far more aid from the UK alone than Israel receives imports from the whole EU. And Mossad are far more interested in sharing intel on Islamic extremists than Fatah or Hamas. So who looks childish now in ejecting an Israeli "diplomat", when there really is little other than circumstancial evidence to link Israel to the Dubai killing?

      Over in the ol' US-of-A, Israel-bashing is in full swing! Maybe the news the CIA blew away a whole building and four other people when it nailed a senior Taliban commander in Miranshah the other week stopped the Yanks getting too vocal about the neater Dubai hit, but then there was the Biden "insult" to consider. By coincidence, the Jerusalem municipality didn't announce (it was wasn't a public announcement, someone phoned every journalist they could think of to spread the news) that the planning for the 1600 homes, to be built in NORTH Jerusalem in a Jewish area the wrong side of the Green Line, had reached stage six of nine in getting approval, the same week that Biden arrived for his visit. So, no public announcement to rub Biden's face in it, no actual building work, not even the permission to start building.

      But old Kneejerk Shrillary Clinton squeals about being "insulted" - insulted? You'd think after all those years of running around in her husband's lecherous shadow she would have grown a thicker skin. After all, she did originally applaud the Israeli announcement that they would "temporarily halt settlement buildings in the the West Bank EXCEPT Jerusalem". Which saved face for Obama after he originally killed off the recent process to talks by announcing that Israel should stop all settlement building without even checking with Israel! So what was there for her to get upset about? Do we get a calm and careful response from Ms Clinton? Of course not - she went off the Richter scale over a bit of minor beareucratic mis-timing that has been hyped to death, accompanied by serious growling from Obama's favourite astroturfer, David Axelrod (a bit like a mugger complaining of high crime rates). Having got herself back down off the ceiling she had to backpedal furiously in time for her speech to AIPAC - can't risk those Jewish-American votes what with Obama's old-style-Washington wheeler-dealing for his Healthcare program having stripped away a lot of his "hope'n'change" sparkle.

      Of course, Shrillary was completely blase about Palestinian "provocations" that occured in the same week Biden was in Israel. Apparently, there is nothing insulting about the Palestinians announcing that they have named a square "in honour" of Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who died killing 38 unarmed Israeli civillains (of which 13 were children) in an attack on a bus in Israel in 1978. Shrillary didn't even get upset that Mughrabi's other victim was American photographer Gail Rubin, so apparently honouring the killers of US citizens is also not insulting. Shrillary stated in her AIPAC speech that Hamas were the guilty party and she wasn't totally wrong - both Fatah and Hamas have announced they will name squares after Mughrabi, it's just Fatah got round to it first. It's also not the first time both have honoured Mughrabi. But, of course, the honouring of a murderer of women and children is neither insulting nor provocative if it is by either Palestinian party, compared to partial planning permission for homes, in a Jewish neighbourhood, that may never get built.

      Or that, whilst The Obumbler was giving Netenyahu a toned-down meeting in the White House, today marked the day that the 333 occurence of a mortar or rocket being fired out of Gaza into Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead just over a year ago. Apparently, that rate of just under one attempted murder of Israeli civillians a day is neither provocative nor insulting. After all, it is much less than the rate they were being fired before Cast Lead, so maybe Shrillary and The Obumbler think the Israelis should be grateful.

      And all this hardball Israel-bashing routine has nothing to do with the on-going talks aimed at boosting the Allied (read "US") relationship with Islamic Pakistan. No, sir, nothing to do with getting the Allies out of Afghanistan ASAP so Obama has at least some good news to show the voters in the November mid-terms. Unfortunately, Obama has fallen for the old line that all the problems in the MiddleEast and Asia stem from the unsettled Israeli-Palestinian "issue" (like the Iran-Iraq War, or the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, or Egypt's invasion of Sudan, or Saudi's invasion of Yemen several times over, or even the Lebanese Civil War, none of which could in any way be blamed on Israel), and that if that Israel is somehow forced to a quick conclusion then the whole Islamic world will just start being the nicest place ever! Yeah, right.

      In the meantime, it seems to be accepted by all Western politicians that bashing Israel has no negatives, just lots of good publicity. Self-serving politicians, using a friendly country as a scape-goat for a bit of publicity? Very principled and adult behaviour.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Reading too much "Zionist Today" ?

        A lot of good points about sharing intel and about Isralei military hardware.

        However, the Palestine / Israel issue is the most significant issue facing us. Without that issue, harlinle states such as Iran would not have the excuse that the US is funding Israel over $3,000,000,000 - mostly in arms - per year in order to eradicate the Palestinian people. Get rid of the problem, there is nothing to spin.

        You don't have to worry, the jewish lobby in the US is so strong that all this is window dressing.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: Reading too much "Zionist Today" ?

          Nope, just a few more websites than the average poster here seems to. Some of the stuff above comes from a quick perusal of the BBC News webby (even the BBC seems to have lost it's unqualified love for Obama), some from the Huffington Post site, some even from forums of other tech sites. A little reading is a good thing, you get to see so much more of the wider picture.

          As regards Iran, the longterm issue of the Arabs versus the Persians existed before the State of Israel was created. Using "anti-Zionism" is not a real issue, it is just a means by which Arab (and Persian) dictators have sought to garner public support from the Ummah, and simply reflects the built-in pejudices of Islam. Ignoring that, there is the fundamental schism in Islam between Sunnis and Shia, which also is completely of their own making, and doesn't even start to describe the problems of how Sunnis and Shias treat other Islamic-related religions such as Allawites and the Druze (even if you took the Maronite Christians out of the Lebanon you'd still have the fighting between the Sunnis, Shias, Druze and Allawites).

          The problems of multi-faith Lebanon, a problem that does owe something to Imperialist meddling (the Fwench that time), has it's roots in the much older clashes between Christianity and Islam, rather than Israel. Of course, the multi-faith Lebanon did declare war on Israel in 1948 and is technically still at war with Israel. And how exactly do you blame Israel for Iraq's continual claims to chunks of Kuwait (please note, the UK sent troops to Kuwait in the '60s to stop Saddam's predecessor from invading, and even the new "friendly" Iraqi government still lays claim to chunks of Kuwait and Iran)?

          Trying to pretend that US aid to Israel (much lower than the Palestinians receive, and very much lower than the annual US aid to neighbours such as Egypt) is somehow impacting on any of those is just laughable. Bleating about it is merely repeating the soundbites of those same "Islamic" dictators who seek to damage Israel, and even if the US was to stop all aid to Israel it would not change one iota of public opinion in the many Islamic states that have conditioned their people to believe the extermination of - not the limitting, not the "two-state" solution, but the complete and genocidal removal of - the one Jewish state in the World is the only acceptable solution.

          After all, if the Palestinians really had any desire for a real peace they would have expressed unconditional joy at the announcement of the Oslo Accords (they didn't) and accepted the offer made to Arafat by Ehud Barack at Camp David, where Israel offered a much better deal than even Bill Clinton expected. Despite being offered 95% of what the PLO had demanded, a situation that is unlikley to ever be repeated, Arafat declined the deal, refused to negotiate and went back to Ramallah to kick off the Second Intifada. Even Bill Clinton, no great friend of Israel, is on record as saying he put the blame completely on Arafat. Did the Palestinians get upset with Arafat for junkng the best chance of lasting peace? No, they happilly went on the rampage.

          Truth is, there is very little pressure on Fatah or Hamas to seek a lasting peace with Israel. Fatah receives plenty of cash from the US, EU, Russia and countless Islamic countries for doing nothing other than being in dispute with Israel. Hamas's whole existance is built on the eradication of Israel, and Iran pays them handsomely to continue acting in the manner. Should peace break out, even if it was by the destruction of Israel, all those benefits would disappear - would any of the Islamic countries be willing to send money to the Palestinians if Israel wasn't there? Unlikley. Bang would go all the UN, EU and US aid, UNWRA would be out of a job, and the Palestinians would actually have to get off their backsides and build something for a change. It is much easier for the Palestinian elite to maintain the stauts quo, lap up the plaudits and the aid money, and let their people suffer. After all, as Egypt and Jordan have shown, peace is possible with Israel, if you actually want it.

  8. Cameron Colley

    Or, just don't go there.

    You wouldn't use a petrol station known for cloning credit cards on a regular basis and using them to fund the killing of rival gang members -- so why use a country which behaves in this manner?

  9. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    Now I have to worry about my credit cards and my passport being cloned.

    Still it should be easy to spot the forged Irish passports as the Israeli agents will be the only ones with Irish passports due to the work-to-rule in the Irish passport office by civil servants upset at having to pay a contribution to their inflation proof pensions

    Meanwhile in other news Mechanical Operations Special Solutions And Developments Ltd. Have submitted a tender to the Irish government to privatise the production of Irish passports.

  10. Anonymous John

    Stable door meet door frame

    Pointless, even if vistors had a choice.. By now, Mossad will have copied more passports than they will ever need.

    If they were responsible, that is. I still can't see why they would use the UK passports of those resident in their country.

  11. Brian O'Byrne

    What passwords have no biometric details?

    I don't believe I have ever seen a passport without biometric security details. Doesn't every passport include a photograph? ... and confirmation of the sex of the passport holder?

    These are details of the biology of the passport holder that can be measured, hence bio-metric.

  12. Solomon Grundy

    Second Time

    I thought the Israelis promised not to abuse British passports anymore after they got caught doing this the last time.

    1. Freddie


      so that they don't get flagged up as Israelis when they enter an Arab country as a prominent Hamas member is visiting. It seems hard to believe it wasn't them considering they're refusing to deny it.

  13. bexley

    Why not just ignore Israelfrom now on

    Just dont go to that frankly imoral and agresive nation that is basically the cause of most of the insability in the middle east.

    Our typical "israel is our friend" line is unfounded, most people in the UK you speak to dont consider them a friendly nation at all. Why is it that we maintain a freidnship with them considering the things they get up to?

    I accept that this alone is not strong enough cause to alter a relationship but state sponsored assinations and the wagin of war against civillian populations is a pretty good reason.

  14. Duncan Hothersall

    Loving all the layers in this

    I can't help wondering what the different layers of the UK, Israeli and UAE governments/ intelligence agencies are *actually* saying to each other, outside the realm of public denials and carefully orchestrated "anger".

    The UK can't risk British passports/credibility being devalued in the UAE, hence all the public anguish; the UAE can't risk Hamas thinking them an unsafe country, hence all the public anger; and of course Israel can't acknowledge executions by its intelligence agencies, though it knows there's little point in making a big fuss. But the cynic in me could see all three governments knowing in advance at some levels, plotting out the reactions and stories, and manipulating the news agenda for their own ends to get this hit done.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was asked to fax a copy of my passport to my recruitment agency for my current contract. I can only hope they haven't yet been infiltrated by Zionist spooks.

    1. Anonymous John

      Re Why not just ignore Israel from now on #

      Name me a recent war that hasn't involved killing civilians. Both sides bombers in World War 2 deliberately targeted them.

      Palestine fighters do put civilian at risk by operating out of civilian areas. And how is a state sponsored assassination with no collateral damage worse than alternative ways of getting him?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      funny is not? they became what they hate the most...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    If you must hand over your passport in a situation where it is taken out of your site, simply get it replaced when you get back to the UK. That could make travelling a little awkward for anyone wanting to travel on a forgery of your passport. The only downside is that you would have to pay for the renewal of your passport but that's a small price to pay if it avoids you being implicated in a professional hit further down the line.

    Anonymous because...... Well, I'm always anonymous.

  17. JMB


    And MOSSAD won't be able to make a copy of a biometric passport?

    With the people concerned all apparently living in Israel and so supporters of the Israeli regime I keep wondering if any were approached through intermediaries and allowed the copying of their passports?

  18. Susan Ottwell
    Black Helicopters

    They must have done it!

    Since UK police found no links to any country other than Israel, which had an obvious motive for taking out al-Mabhuh, the British government has concluded "that there are compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of British passports," Miliband said.

    Forget that Egyptian and other Middle Eastern countries where know to be having him followed. Forget that he was involved in criminal smuggling and money laundering. We can't think of anybody else who might have been able to do this, or who might have wanted to do it, so it must have been Israel. Of course, we have no proof at all, but let's bash them anyway!

    Actually, most Israelis are finding this whole thing hilarious. The surveillance videos released are so absurd that they have been used in comedy routines already. I especially like the supposed female operative who wears big, floppy sun hats. I collect those, and wear them all the time!

    More than 40 people sneaking into a tiny little country to whack one bad guy? Any semi-professional spook agency wouldn't send more than half a dozen.

  19. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Real passport

    > I still can't see why they would use the UK passports of those resident in their country.

    The reason for using 'real' passports is that they have a back story.

    If you suddenly have a passport for a made up person that has never had a passport before, never traveled before, has no credit history etc it raises alarm bells.

    Not necessarily in real time at the airport - although you do get a lot more questions at immigration if you have a brand new passport - but in the investigation later.

    If you have an newly created person showing up in the trawl of visitors that is suspicous and a good starting point for finding the others.

    In the past they used 'cooperative' people to borrow the passport details from - since it would be embarrassing if an unknowing person coincidently traveled to the same country on their real passport at the same time.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Digital Signatures...

    "And MOSSAD won't be able to make a copy of a biometric passport?"

    The "biometric passports" have a digitally signed photo and maybe also fingerprints, retina scans, hand scans etc.

    The digital key for this signature is controlled by the issuing government. So they might be able to make a copy, but certainly with the wrong photo. Ohh, I forgot the powerful MOSSAD can break any crypto - or maybe not.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Digital Signatures.

      I'm sure that Mossad can copy a biometric passport. The obvious question though is why the hell they would in this case, given that they weren't required for the mission?

      I'd guess that this is something that they only do when they have to: a) to save effort and b) to preserve the illusion that they can't for as long as possible.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Made up details

    From what was reported at the time, the Irish passports used were not copies of real Irish passports - the names were made up, though the passport numbers did match the numbers on some issued passports (not that surprising - there's nothing coded into the number).

    It seems strange that they used "real" identities for the British passports, and fake identities for the Irish passports.

  22. Richard Cartledge

    Hmmm Same old same old zionists

    Can you say 9/11, USS LIberty, Operation Ajax already?

  23. heystoopid
    Big Brother

    Quid Pro Quo

    Watt goes around comes around .

    1. Anonymous Coward


      now can you say all of those things in a sentence and say what you mean instead of hiding behind weasel words?

  24. smudge Silver badge

    Do as I say, not as I do

    "British citizens .... are advised only to hand over their passports to "third parties including Israeli officials when absolutely necessary"."

    Would those third parties include the immigration officials of the UK who insist that I hand over my passport, so that they can stuff it in a reader, every time I return to my native land?

    I'm assuming they do the same to Johnny Foreigner.

    So why the f*** do they think that any other country will just wave a British passport through?

    Earth to FCO: "This is no longer the 18th century. About time you joined Joe Public in the queues instead of going through diplomatic channels...."

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USB Passport ?

    Actually the gaaffernment could just take a digital photo of you, use Photoshop to write your name, birthday and place of birth into it and then digitally sign the JPG it using their secret key.

    You would copy it onto a usb stick and plug that into copper's and customs computers who would display the photo and verify your govt's signature with the public key of the govt.

  26. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Digital Signatures

    @The digital key for this signature is controlled by the issuing government.

    Good job that the issuing government has never lost anything secret then!

    Leaving aside the question of whether the key has already been cracked.

    How do you keep a single 1024 bit number secret when you need to use it to generate millions of passports not to mention literally dozens of id cards?

    As soon as one disgruntled/bribed/blackmailed worker, keylogger, accidental laptop left in bar or copy of database lost in mail then you would have to recall all existing passports and re-sign them, then issue new public keys to every pasport desk at every airport in the world, every bank reader and every employment check.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @Richard Cartledge

    "Operation Ajax" seems to have been an operation that protected British and American Oil interests.

    Ahh, I forgot that the zionists are pulling the strings of very government secretly. That's what you are saying ?

  28. Rattus Rattus

    So can we now

    treat Israel as what it is, a rogue state that just happens to have a rich sugar daddy?

  29. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Another way to destroy Israel,

    (according to some dangerous Muslim anti-semites) is to choose a microprocessor that isn't made by Intel for your next computer purchase. Bear that in mind. And unlike most other discussion of this story, it's technology-relevant.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should give up jaffa cakes as well.

    ...Does Gaza receive any aid whatsoever, at the moment? I thought there were large numbers of competent men and women with guns and tanks and so forth making sure that it doesn't.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Another way to destroy Israel

      ".....choose a microprocessor that isn't made by Intel for your next computer purchase...." Actually, if you really believe that's the thing to do, you should stop using or working with any products from any company that works with, develops and/or manufactures in, invests in, or sells to Israel. That means you can stop using any PC (whether it has an AMD or Intel CPU, including ARM chips, even if it doesn't use Windoze), anything from hp, Dell, IBM, Sun, Oracle, EMC, Bull, Fujitsu, CISCO, etc, etc, etc (to make it clear, just completely stop doing anything IT related, just to be safe). You can stop driving or travelling in a BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Volvo, Jeep, Chrysler, Mercedes, Fiat, Honda, - heck, by car fullstop! Most bus companies are on the list, or even truck (even Chinese manufacturers are trying to sell vehicles in Israel). Forget flying in anything other than a home-made glider, but you may be able to travel in rare cases by train, though you'll have to walk barefoot to the train station and check they are not using Diesel from any of the fuel companies that do work in Israel. Stop using any form of telephony. Stop buying at most major supermarkets (even if they don't have a subsidiary in Israel, most of them buy products from Israel and have investment portfolios including Israeli firms), make your own clothes from hemp and grow all your own food. Oh, and probably sort out your own drinking water and sanitation (yes, there's a global market for the water industry, and even US companies bid for and subcontract work to Israeli water projects - did you know the software that monitors the Israeli water pipelines was written in the UK?). Best not go to the hospital or doctor, seeing as Israelis have also made advances in the world of medicine and supply drugs to many Western countries. In short, welcome to the Middle Ages! Hope the satisfaction you feel in having a completely Israeli-free life makes up for your untimely death from your substandard diet and living conditions.

      ".....Does Gaza receive any aid whatsoever, at the moment?...." Ignoring monetary aid (Gazans are the most subsidised people on Earth), they receive a constant flow of material aid, usually through Israel. Israel only ever closes the border checkpoints when Palestinians attack them (which begs the question why do they attack them, unless they WANT to be able to say the border crossings are closed). Even the Friday that Operation Cast Lead kicked off, Israel let 80 trucks of aid materials (inclduing fuel and gas) into Gaza.

      But lets not stop there. The Palestinians in general are the only people in the World to have their very own permeanent UN refugee agency! No other group anywhere has anything similar. There was no similar agency created for the Yugoslavian civil wars, the Sudan, or even the massive refugee problems of the Rwanda/Congo/Uganda civil wars. Which goes some way to explain why UNWRA does nothing to actually end the Palestinian refugee issue, instead it concentrates on keeping them as refugees. Must look after all those UN jobs!

      But, if you want a real laugh, ask yourself why is Gaza receiving more aid than Haiti? I was looking for a site which detailed the amount of aid flowing into Gaza (738,576 tons of humanitarian aid being transferred into the Gaza Strip in 2009 - did you get that, Mr Carnegie? ) when I stumbled across this page ( which explains that 1.5 million Gazans, having suffered at most 1500 deaths during Cast lead, got more aid than the whole Haiti relief effort (3 million people, estimated 230,000 deaths)!

      So, Rob, why don't you go have a read and then try coming back with an educated post, instead of more blatant and lying propaganda. Oh, hold on a sec - you won't be able to post as you'll be living in your self-imposed Middle Ages! Don't worry, we won't miss your non-contribution.

  30. Inachu

    Paging all British!

    Treat your passport like how the jewsih people treat their food.

    That is.... You keep your passport within eyesight at all times and if someone offical

    looking person says they need to take your passport to their manager into another room without you then reach over and snatch it from their hands asap!

    This way your passport remains kosher.

    Yes the mossad likes to defile your name.

    Have you people forgotten already that all Israeli citizen get trained by the mossad in

    information gather techniques when they join the military in Israel? Yep so any isreali person can be a potential mossad agent.

    Don't risk it even in the slightest of terms!

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @Digital Signatures

    There do exist sealed crypto modules that make sure the key never leaves the unit. Of course, the module is kept in a high-security datacenter attached to a properly defended computer system. Which does not need to be conntected to the intertubes. says:

    "The IBM 4758 PCI Cryptographic Coprocessor adds a high-security environment to your Windows NT®, Windows 2000®, AIX®, OS/400®, z/OS®, and OS/390® server systems for DES, RSA, and DSA cryptographic functions and sensitive custom applications. The PCI board incorporates specialized electronics to off-load your servers from time-consuming cryptographic functions while providing a tamper-responding, secure computing environment for the storage of keys and performing sensitive processing. Certification of the hardware under FIPS PUB 140-1 at levels 3 and 4 assures a high-integrity processing environment."

  32. Equitas

    Should I hand over my passport

    ... to anyone who demands it at passport control in the UK? Last time I came in to Heathrow one of the lanes -- the slowest-moving one -- was being staffed by an individual in a hijab. No uniform. No obvious identification as a passport control officer.

    As far as not handing one's passport over to persons who demand it for seconds or days in Israel the answer is simple -- avoid the country completely. Israel is a country where ethnicity matters overwhelmingly. However, if you don't fit as one of the "chosen" ones, there's no great reason to visit the country.

  33. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    Very inconvenient

    All this faffing about with passports -- do I refuse to hand mine over, or not? -- is hugely inconveniencing.

    Either Israel wishes to welcome me on my intended holiday there. Or it wants to nick my ID to kill people.

    Still and all though.

    My inconvenience is as nought to that of a group of people known as, er, 'the Palestinians'.

    I mean, they there were, enjoying life in their own homes, their own land, and along comes some bloke in a foreign government (clue: headquartered in London) who bows to a pressure group to accede to the founding of the State of Israel.

    Created from, built upon, and still being built upon, Palestinian land.

    So. . . nah. Forget that proposed holiday. Best to continue to keep well clear of Israel.

    * Paris. At least she's never swallowed an entire nation.

  34. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Very inconvenient

    "......I mean, they there were, enjoying life in their own homes, their own land, and along comes some bloke in a foreign government (clue: headquartered in London) who bows to a pressure group to accede to the founding of the State of Israel....." Hmmm, it seems the most inconvenient factor in your life is your total lack of any form of history learning in what you presumably assumed was an "education". I'm amazed anyone that could have got past Peter & Jane also has not at some point read the historic facts that debunk the "there were no Jews in Palestine before 1948" hokum.

    First off, there have been Jews living in the area you refer to as Palestine longer even than it has been refered to as "Palestine". The Romans came up wth the name as a way of rechristening the then Judaic Kingdom which they had conquered, probably in relation to the even older race of Philistines that did occupy the area centuries before. When the idea of partitioning down population lines in the post-WW1 area known as the Palestine Mandate was originally drafted it was due to the belicosity of the Arabs, not the Jews. Some areas were quite distinct, but most of the large towns and cities had very mixed populations. For example, the census of Haifa in 1945 showed a mix of 33% Southern Syrian (Mulsim Arabs), 20% Christian (mainly Greek Orthodox Syrians) and 47% Jewish, and so was classed as "Jewish" even though 53% of the population wasn't! As it was a port and gateway to the Mandate, many Jewish refugees from Europe entered the area via Haifa and some stayed and boosted the Jewish population to 51% by the time the UN had a go in 1947. Both the Christian and Muslim populations also grew, and nobody was "displaced" by the growth of any party, Haifa itself growing. The British had several goes at trying to please everybody, then post-WW2 gave up and handed the problem over to the UN. Having decided that the Jews lived mainly in cities (60%) and the Arabs mainly in the rural areas (72%), the first UN draft gave almost all the cities to the Jews!

    In all cases, the Arabs were the party that resisted any form of division and insisted on ruling over everything. To appease them, the area we now call Jordan was broken off and given to the Arabs in 1922 as guaranteed Arab land, leaving the Jews 26% to negotiate over. Jews were banned from owning land in Transjordan, which meant Jewish families already there had their land taken away long before Israel even came into existance. Nowadays we call that bit Jordan. But I guess we won't be hearing you calling for the right of return for Jewish refugees to Jordan.

    Secondly, the Arabs nationalists kicked off several pogroms against Jews in the Mandate long before the Zionists got their state. Try reading up on the events in 1921, 1929 and 1936-39. In Jerusalem, both before 1948 and aftewards, Arabs tried their hardest to clear out any pockets of Jews. After 1948 this was orchestrated by the Jordanian government and was in direct contravention of the UN ceasefire. It also marked the one attempt at settling any Palestinian refugees - they simply drove whole Jewish neighbourhoods out and gave their houses to Arab refugees. Hilariously, many later took up an offer from the UN to register themselves as refugees even though they now had taken Jewish homes. Jewish neighbourhoods that had previously been marked as Jewish by both the Brits and the UN were thus ethnicly cleansed and became Arab neighbourhoods on the Eastern and Northern sides of what became the 1967 Green Line. Will you be insisting they are given back to Israel? I doubt it.

    Thirdly, there is no real group of people with the historic name "Palestinians". The British and UN both recorded that the Arabs in the area predominantly classed themselves as Southern Syrian, Bedouin, Egyptian or Arabian. The idea to call themselves "Palestinians" is a bit of Arab nationalist theatre supposed to imply some form of historical and collective link to the land, when the reality was a mix of clans from several areas, some that had only moved to the area after 1922. The funniest bit of this is that the average Arab can't pronounce the word "Palestinian" as they don't have a hard p sound in Arabic, instead pronouncing it "Falestinians". Not surprisingly given the history, that was soon corrupted by critics to become "Fake-istinians".

    Fourthly, the final UN division gave the jews only 14% of the original Mandate land, in a convolved and disjointed shape, and left large numbers of Jews in hostile Arab territory. This was much less than the Greater Israel dream, far less than the promise of the Balfour Declaration, and far less than the population balance suggests they should have had. But the Jews took that offer in the hope of peaceful co-existance with the Arabs. In response, not one Arab leader from any of the neighbouring lands asked for anything less than the complete destruction of Israel. Not one "Palestinian" Arab clan leader did either, they all advoctaed war. They massively outnumbered and outgunned the Jews, but they lost, and mainly because the Jews were fighting for their homes whilst the majority of the Arab fighters were soldiers from neighbouring countries.

    Why was it so upsetting for the Arabs to have one tiny little bit of land, already shown to be predominantly owned by Jews, be classed as a Jewish country? After all, compared to the land mass of the Mediterranean and Gulf areas dominated by Muslims, even the larger Israel of today is less than 2% of the area that is ruled as various Islamic republics. More of a question, why do westerners like yourself repeat their hatefilled propaganda at every chance?

    "....Forget that proposed holiday. Best to continue to keep well clear of Israel....." By the sounds of it, you probably wouldn't feel very at home in Israel anyway, so I suggest you holiday somewhere you're limited education doesn't pose any challenges, like Clacton or Blackpool, and leave the foreign travel to those of us more equipped to think for ourselves.

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