Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

‘Strip those who hurt state security of their citizenship’

8 April 2010

By Natasha Mozgovaya and Jonathan Lis, Haaretz – 8 April 2010

Israeli citizens found to be undermining state security should be stripped of their citizenship, the chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee said Thursday, referring to the recently released espionage affair involving journalist and former Israel Defense Forces soldier Anat Kam.

Earlier Thursday, a Tel Aviv district court judge lifted a months-long gag order revealing that Anat Kam, a journalist and ex-soldier, was suspected of “serious espionage” for allegedly giving classified information to a reporter from Haaretz regarding the IDF’s rules of engagement.

Referring to the newly uncovered case, Yisrael BeiteinuMK David Rotem said that he intended to submit a correction to the corrections law in the upcoming Knesset session, which would deny those convicted with hurting state security of their national insurance as well as of prison educational privileges.

“Even though the bill was prepared before the affair being discussed in recent days, this is a classic case in which it would deal,” Rotem said, adding that the Kam case was an “extremely severe case, in which penalty must be served in full, both to Anat Kam who stole the documents and the journalists who published them.”

The Yisrael Beiteinu MK also said that “anyone who dares hurt and slander state security should pay for it,” adding that he intended to strip anyone found guilty for such charges of their citizenship, saying that “citizenship requires loyalty.”

Rotem’s comments was another of several responses to the newly revealed story, both inn Israel and abroad.

Earlier Thursday, human rights group B’Tselem said that the Israeli government was overlooking the serious allegations indicated in the documents leaked in the Anat Kam affair, while choosing to investigate the leak itself.

The lifting of months-long gag order earlier Thursday revealed that Anat Kam, a journalist and ex-soldier, is suspected of “serious espionage” for allegedly giving classified information to a reporter from Haaretz regarding the IDF’s rules of engagement.

In a statement released just hours after the gag order was released, B’Tselem said that with “the lifting of the gag order over the Anat Kam affair, B’Tselem would like to reiterate that this case deals with documents which indicate that the military has been conducting assassinations in the West Bank in the guise of arrest operations, thus contradicting Israel’s official statements and in violation of a High Court ruling.”

“The last official assassination initiated by Israel in the West Bank was in August of 2006. Since then, Israel had stated that, given the opportunity, IDF forces would arrest wanted Palestinians,” B’Tselem added.

The human rights group also stated that “in spite of these declarations “B’Tselem research has shown that in many cases soldiers have been conducting themselves in the territories as if they were on a hit mission, as opposed to arrest operations.”

“What the journalist Uri Blau had uncovered supports B’Tselem’s claims in this matter,” the human rights group said, adding that with the leaking of the affair “authorities rushed to investigate the leak and chose to ignore the severe suspicions of blatant wrongdoings depicted in those documents.”

Also Thursday, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the N.Y.-based organization Committee to Protect Journalists, told Haaretz he questioned the length of breadth of the blanket gag order, lifted after many international media outlets, not bound by it, already released details regarding the affair.

“It is disturbing to happen in a democratic country – people outside Israel reported that it happened and as a journalist, when you have pieces of information you have to confirm it with the source when possible,” Abdel Dayem said.

“And then the source can’t talk because of the gag order, if they talk under the gag order they might face additional legal action,” he added saying that the judicial decision to gag the story was “artificially creating a roadblock on the way to full and proper reporting of the story. That’s the kind of thing that shouldn’t happen in democratic society.”

Abdel Dayem also told Haaretz “There were so many alleged in this story it was hardly a story. And frankly, it was reported outside Israel all over the place,” also saying that all one needed to do was “open the internet and read everything you need about it. But somehow Israeli journalists weren?t allowed to write about it inside Israel.

“The whole rationale for gag order is no longer intact ? the Israeli judiciary had rationale to issue this gag order, but it was out of the window once the story was leaked,” Abdel Dayem said.

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