Shahar Peer let her racquet do most of the talking during her historic first appearance at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships this week. She fought her way through to the semifinals – where she lost on Friday to defending champ Venus Williams 1-6, 4-6 – deftly handling a security detail of 25 guards, scheduling on outside “secured” courts and the scrutiny that comes with being the unwilling center of a political controversy.
“My position was not easy, but I feel this week was very important,” Shahar Peer said after her final match of the tournament. “Everyone treated me well here, I have become friends with the people from Dubai. They all tried to make me feel as good as possible.”
“I am sure I will remember this tournament for the rest of my life.” (via Tennis.com)
Unfortunately at least one representative of the Israeli government didn’t follow Peer’s classy example, using her success in the Dubai tournament as fodder for offensive political bravado. This was posted from the Israeli Embassy in London’s twitter account mid-day on Thursday (screen-grabbed by Ynet news.)
The link led to this news story about Shahar Peer’s victory over Dubai’s top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki. The message was reportedly deleted soon after it was posted, but the Embassy did confirm to reporters that a member of its staff had written it.
The “Tweet” alludes to the January 20th killing of Hamas military commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in a Dubai hotel. Incredibly, the alleged assassins were captured on security camera disguised in tennis gear as they followed their target in the hotel. Dubai’s police chief has gone on record as saying that he is “99 percent” sure that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was behind the hit (via the NYTimes) and many news sources agree with his hunch.
Security photo of alleged hit squad members from Reuters via YNet News.
To complicate the international relations disaster, the offending Tweet was posted before Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, met with the British Foreign Office to answer why suspects in the assassination apparently used fraudulent British passports.
YNet News reported that the Israel Embassy U.K. released the following statement in response to the Tweet:
“Naturally, messages on the Twitter network are characterized with a great deal of creativity. In this case the creativity was undoubtedly inappropriate. The ambassador told off the employee who wrote the message and it was removed.”
No joke – even John le Carré couldn’t come up with a plot like this. And Shahar Peer has been written into this story of political espionage.