If the travel & tourism industry has zero tolerance for terrorists and terrorism, there is no excuse for it turning a blind eye to state-sponsored assassinations and executions, especially when carried out in hotel rooms by killers carrying fraudulent passports.
The alleged involvement of the Israeli secret service Mossad and its dual passport-holding agents in the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai last January 19 has converted the so-called “good guys” into “bad guys”. Described as an act of state terrorism, the assassination has flipped all the conventional arguments about “safety and security” on its head.
Many such Israeli dual passport-holders are working in the travel & tourism industry and travel visa-free through countries which in theory bar Israeli citizens, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. This makes a mockery of the entire visa process.
The fact that many commentators in the West are trying to justify the killing puts them in the same category as terrorist-sympathisers. Indeed, a substantial body of commentary amongst the apologists is trying to smear the Dubai authorities for doing their job in seeking to track down these killers. There are clear suggestions that the Dubai police should just forget about the whole thing, and let the Israelis continue to kill at will.
At the same time, the travel & tourism industry is being forced to spend billions of dollars on security equipment, much of which is made and sold by companies with significant Israeli involvement. Is this equipment really designed to protect the travelling public? Or to provide clandestine information to Mossad?
The travel & tourism has long become a pawn in this deadly game. It has paid both the price and the costs, with millions of global travellers having to put up with insulting and offensive security checks, racial profiling, intrusive visa application processes and violation of privacy. There is no transparency, no checks and balances in the system. Anybody who protests is said to be “soft on terrorism.”
If travel & tourism industry leaders issue any more one-sided denunciations and condemnations of terrorism, without condemning state terrorism at the same time, they will stand accused of double standards and hypocrisy and deserve the unequivocal condemnation of the travelling public, whose safety and security they are supposed to be protecting, regardless of caste, colour, creed or political affiliation.
By attempting to level the playing field, Dubai is doing the travel & tourism industry a big favour. Accountability is a two-way street.
The time to say “Basta” is long overdue.
Commentary by Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire Travel Impact Newswire