Court records say former Israeli soldier admitted stealing documents for ‘war crime’ evidence

Monday, April 12, 2010

Court says Israeli ex-soldier stole documents

JERUSALEM — Court documents released Monday show that a former Israeli soldier admitted stealing classified military secrets to reveal Israeli “war crimes” against Palestinians.

Anat Kamm, 23, has been charged with passing information to a journalist with the intent of harming national security. Her lawyers deny that was her intention.

Her case drew wide attention because a court gag order kept her arrest out of Israeli publications, while world media were reporting it freely. The gag order was partially lifted last week.

The newly released court documents say that Kamm told investigators she wanted to disclose certain Israeli military operations to the public and provide evidence of “war crimes.”

The Israeli Justice Ministry said more than a year ago saying that an investigation showed military actions disclosed in the documents did not violate the law or court decisions.

The indictment against Kamm alleges that she copied more than 2,000 classified military documents and relayed them to a journalist from the Haaretz newspaper. Some 700 were classified as “top secret” and are said to include sensitive military plans.

“When I copied the material, I thought that history has shown people who have raised an alarm over war crimes were forgiven,” Kamm is quoted as saying in the documents.

The new court documents also show that one of the CDs Kamm burned has “disappeared” and that she doesn’t remember where she put it.

Prosecutors allege Kamm was the source for a Haaretz story accusing the military of killing Palestinian militants in violation of a Supreme Court ruling.

Uri Blau, the journalist who wrote the story, fled to London, fearing arrest. On Monday, two bodies representing Israeli journalists called on Blau to return all the stolen documents and on the government not to prosecute him.

Kamm has been under house arrest since December, and much of the case remains under wraps by the gag order.

Israel’s targeted killing policy was one of its most contentious in facing a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000. Dozens of militants, including Hamas leaders, were killed by missile strikes and other means.

In late 2006, Israel’s Supreme Court set strict restrictions on assassinations in the West Bank, limiting them to extraordinary cases.

The Haaretz report cited a document from March 2007 that included an order from the Israeli commander in the West Bank, permitting firing on three top Palestinian militants even if they did not threaten soldiers.

Israel’s attorney general at the time, Meni Mazuz, concluded all three killings were conducted in line with the Supreme court ruling.

A letter from Mazuz’s office from January 2009 said “the attorney general did not find any basis to the claim that military forces operated against the law or against the Supreme Court’s ruling, and no reason was found to conduct a criminal investigation.”

will not be displayed