Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, the senior Hamas commander who was assassinated in a Dubai hotel room last month. Image Credit: Reuters

The British move to expel an Israeli diplomat from London over the use of British passports in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai is a welcome move and a step in the right direction. But it is not enough and should be followed up with steps that will help bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

The move came after the Foreign Office studied a report by the Serious Organised Crime Agency into the cloning of British passports used by some of those identified as having been involved in the murder of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh on January 19.

Britain's decision effectively means that it is convinced that Israel is behind the murder and confirms what Dubai Police has been saying all along.

The UAE has called on Western countries, whose passports were used in the crime, to take action against the parties involved. "This crime is not only a crime that has happened on UAE territory and a violation of UAE territory, it is also a violation of the ID cards and passports of respective European countries and of Australia," Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister, had said earlier this month.

Therefore, Britain and other western nations must insist on bringing those who violated their laws to justice. And Israel, responsible for a cross-border terrorist act, must be held accountable.

It is expected that the British move is not just a slap on the wrist, but part of serious measures that will eventually end the Israeli licence to kill its alleged adversaries.

Israel has been carrying similar terrorist acts for decades without any fear of retribution. Britain's action yesterday is hopefully the start of a new policy by which Western nations will tell Israel that its free licence to hunt and kill Palestinian officials and activists has expired.