Poland has joined the growing list of nations around the world that have expelled Israeli diplomats, following the January assassination of a top Hamas terrorist, the founder of the group's military wing.
Polish passports were not involved in the incident, in which false documents were used to cover the tracks of the team of 30 agents involved in the operation. Nevertheless, the European Union nation has decided to comply with an international arrest warrant issued by its fellow EU member, Germany, and agreed Wednesday to hand over an Israeli diplomat, rather than send him home to be tried in Jerusalem.
Some 26 passports were found by Dubai police to have been falsified from names and places within Germany, Britain, Ireland, France and Australia. Most nations assumed that Israel's international Mossad intelligence agency carried out the hit that ended the life of Hamas weapons acquisition specialist Mahmoud al-Mahbouh in his room at the Al Bustan Rotana luxury hotel. Israel has since taken the heat for the assassination, with a growing list of countries expelling its diplomats over the incident.
Polish Judge Tomasz Calkiewicz decided Wednesday in Warsaw to extradite Uri Brodsky to Germany, where, however, he will only face allegations of illegally acquiring a German passport in 2009 for one of al-Mabhouh's assassins and no other charges. Seven anti-terrorism police officers, heavily armed and wearing masks, brought Brodsky into the courtroom for the closed-door hearing. Brodsky's face was covered and he was handcuffed for the proceedings.
The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza had reported in mid-June that the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw had approached Polish authorities, requesting to postpone extradition procedures.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz both urged Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk not to extradite Brodsky. “Poland needs to tell Germany that it is sending an Israeli citizen to Israel, and if there is some complaint against him, we have legal procedures [that] have great credibility with the international legal system,” Misezhnikov said after Germany issued the warrant for Brodsky's arrest several weeks ago.
However, Poland turned a deaf ear to the request. It is not clear when Brodsky will be transferred to German custody.