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article imageIsraeli journalists on ice for report on Israeli assassinations

By Stephanie Dearing     Apr 3, 2010 in World
Of the two Israeli journalists who are involved in an exclusive story about the Israeli army assassinating targeted Palestinians, one is said to be under house arrest; the other left the country months ago.
Ramallah - One journalist, 23 year old Anat Kam, was arrested in December by the army, allegedly for copying secret documents while serving in the army in 2007. The documents concerned targeted killings of certain Palestinians. Kam passed the documents to another journalist, Uri Blau, who wrote the story for Haaretz, an Israeli paper in 2008. Facing arrest if he returns to Israel, Blau is staying in the United Kingdom.
Details are sketchy because Israel has put a gag order on the story, including Kam's arrest. It is rumoured that Kam was secretly arrested in December 2009 and forced into house arrest. She is to be tried in court on of treason and espionage. The gag order has left liberal Israeli citizens fearing the right to free speech in Israel has been lost. One report states that many Israeli blog writers took down their posts about Kam and the extra-judicial killings out of fear for their lives.
The news of Kam's arrest hit the blog-sphere in mid-March. She had been writing for the newspaper, Walla, but had been put on unpaid leave.
There is a sense of puzzlement over the rumours because the story about the alleged assassinations conducted by the Israeli army was published in 2008. The two documents the story was based on were also published. The documents are alleged to confirm the assassinations of Palestinians by the Israeli army. ShaolomLife has put one of those documents on-line. Furthermore, Israel's practice of targeted assassinations has been well documented and is no secret. In fact, the practice is legally sanctioned in Israel.
The answer might be found in Blau's original story on the assassinations, titled Licence to kill. Published in 2008, the story highlights the fact that the Isreali army violated a new laws set out by Israeli's High Court which set out strict restrictions on extra-judicial killings. Israel's High Court did not outlaw extra-judicial killings. But there are still many questions as to why the arrest of one journalist has occured a whole year after the story was published. In Isreal's media world, the word is that Kam and Blau hold the key to a bigger, more explosive story about practices conducted by Israel's army, and that the 2008 story about extra-judicial killings is just the tip of the iceberg.
Blau reportedly left Israel for China in December 2009, turning to the UK to hide. The Independent wrote that Blau is attempting to negotiate terms of his return to Israel. However, the Independent did not speak with Blau, but received an emailed statement from one Haaretz editor who said the paper was providing legal assistance to Blau. Blau writes for Haaretz. He has been an outspoken journalist, writing critical pieces that show Israel's uglier side.
Haaretz has denied that the two journalists are linked on the story and the subsequent repression of information. Even so, Haaretz and other news media in Israel are calling for the gag order to be lifted on Kam's trial, which is said to be scheduled for April 14th. The legal case against the media blackout will be argued in court on April 12th. Haaretz's Editor-in-Chief, Dov Alfon told press "Haaretz asked the court to lift the gag order, not just in the public interest but also to allow us to defend ourselves from this absurd allegation. More than a year passed between the publication and her arrest, a year in which Uri Blau published several other front-page articles criticising the army’s conduct.”
More about Palestine, Journalists, Detention, Ant kam, Uri blau
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