April 4, 2010
An Israeli journalist, is under arrest in Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East", for doing her job. You can read about it here. Here, in Israel, the press is banned from telling you about it. Remember, this is happening not in Iran, China or Myanmar.
Israel has placed a former soldier under house arrest for allegedly leaking details of a controversial policy to kill wanted Palestinian militants, and has slapped a gagging order on the national media to prevent it from covering the story, according to sources in the Jewish state and abroad.
The moves are being challenged by the media in a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech. An appeal is expected to be lodged this month by a television news channel and by the centre-left newspaper Haaretz, while the mass-market daily Maariv has satirised both the gag and the lack of media defiance by declaring: “Due to a gag order we cannot tell you what we know. Due to laziness, apathy and blind faith in the defence establishment we know nothing at all.”
The case centres on a 23-year-old former soldier, Anat Kam, who was arrested in December after finishing her national service, which is compulsory in Israel. She is reportedly charged with having copied classified documents that showed that Israeli troops had broken their own rules of engagement by killing three Palestinian militants in the West Bank. Six months earlier an Israeli court had all but banned the practice of so-called targeted killings, permitting them only in cases where the wanted suspects could not be safely arrested.
The story was subsequently published in late 2008 by Haaretz. The paper said that the military had apparently made a unilateral decision to relax its rules of engagement and returned to the practice of assassinating militants, a frequent occurrence in the early days of the second intifada, which began in 2000.
According to the report, in March 2007 Major-General Yair Naveh, who was the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank at the time, allowed his men to shoot three leading Palestinian militants even though they did not pose a clear threat. The order was judged to be illegal by experts interviewed by the Haaretz journalist Uri Blau.
Blau is in hiding in London.