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Anat Kamm’s Alleged National Security Threat

When the Shin Bet removed the gag order against Anat Kamm recently and released a new indictment, it accused her of harming the security of the State of Israel by stealing documents whose contents would be much sought after by Israel’s enemies.  At first, knowing that the basis of her indictment was for documents Uri Blau published in Haaretz which proved that IDF top generals knowingly ignored a Supreme Court ruling which limited targeted killings, I disparaged the Shin Bet’s claim.  But the IDF is now putting out word that Kamm also stole sensitive military planning data and strategic documents which, for example, laid out the orders of battle for what would become Operation Cast Lead.

I read that, in fact, Uri Blau prepared an article for Haaretz before the war in which he laid out those orders and battle and explained why they were deeply problematic because they marked a radical departure from usual IDF procedures which attempted to protect enemy civilians during war.  The reporter presented the article to the censor, who refused to approve it.  This in turn would’ve alerted the IDF that their data had been compromised,  The rightist Jerusalem Post is claiming that the IDF changed its tactics because it knew of the “mole.”  This type and tone of reporting might do Kamm in in the court of Israeli public opinion by turning her from a whistleblower into a traitor.

But we need to look at this potentially damaging issue entirely differently.  Let’s go back to the leak of the Cast Lead orders of battle.  After the war, Haaretz did publish an article very similar to the one Blau might’ve published before the war (though it was written by Amos Harel)  and it revealed a deeply disturbing perversion of standard IDF procedures.  It showed that Gaza became a virtual free fire zone and that anything that moved in many sectors was destroyed, no questions asked. Many believe the changes in IDF strategic and tactical doctrine during the Gaza war amounted to war crimes.  This is one of the primary contentions of the Goldstone commission.

Imagine that there was no military censor and Blau HAD published his article before the war.  Imagine there could have been a wide public debate about the IDF’s new doctrine.  Imagine that public criticism could’ve moderated such plans and lessened the death toll among Gazan civilians, 1,100 of whom were killed in the 2008 war.  Viewed this way, Blau’s and Kamm’s acts are not espionage or treason or damaging to the State.  On the contrary, they contribute vastly to the public good by revealing potential violations of international law before they happen, thus allowing Israel to turn away from danger.

On a related matter, Kamm did not leak these documents to “the enemy” as the government seeks to claim.  She leaked them to an Israeli reporter and they didn’t damage Israel’s security because they weren’t published.  So in effect, if you accept military censorship which I don’t, the system worked and the censor prevented a supposedly damaging document from being leaked in such a way that it might have betrayed Israeli tactics during a war.

Note: I’ve changed my spelling of Anat Kamm (from “Kam” as I originally spelled it) due to the fact that her e-mail address displays her name that way, which  indicates that this is how she prefers it in English.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • fiddler April 10, 2010, 6:18 AM

    Another tip o’ da hat to you, from Jonathan Cook: http://www.jkcook.net/Articles3/0473.htm

    Not much that’s new, but a good synopsis of what-happened-so-far.

  • Richard Witty April 10, 2010, 6:39 AM

    I didn’t realize you were so important to the reporting of this issue in the west press.

    It is good work to expose such perversions of democracy and of Zionism.

    Thank you.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 4:32 PM

      “Important” in the eyes of my children, thank God. They’re all under 10 yrs old so even that will change unfortunately. The rest of the world–I’m not so sure.

  • Shirin April 10, 2010, 10:27 AM

    Richard, we really must find another word other than “war” for so-called Operation Cast Lead. It was by no means a war, and it is a gross misrepresentation of what took place to describe it as such. Would anyone think of calling the attack on Guernica a war?

    I also take strong issue with the contention that the Gaza “operation” was all that much of a departure from the Israeli military’s traditional approaches. I think any Palestinian or any Lebanese would not agree that Gaza was not such a “radical departure from usual IDF procedures” and they would fall out of their chairs laughing at the suggestion that usual IDF procedures have previously “attempted to protect enemy civilians” or for that matter civilian facilities and infrastructure. If you buy that characterization, then you also have to believe that the Israeli military is one of the most inept in the world, and in fact could be described as the gang that cannot shoot straight given the rate at which they kill and maim civilians and destroy critical civilian infrastructure. It might be that the 2008-09 Gaza “operation” was the first in which they openly and admittedly targeted civilians, but the civilian death toll was just as disproportionate in Lebanon, 2006, and has been in just about every major (and minor) Israeli operation. At the very least it is unarguable that contrary to the claim that they “try to protect civilians”, the IDF could not care less how many civilians they kill and maim, and as a result they kill and maim a great many more civilians that would be the case if they actually did try to protect them.

    It is also unarguable that the IDF has a lifelong history of targeting civilian structures and infrastructure that have no military significance. From the 400-plus villages they demolished in the 1948 war to their complete demolition of the Syrian city of Quneitra, population around 40,000, which rendered it completely uninhabitable, to numerous deeply destructive rampages in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to Lebanon, 2006 to so-called “operation cast lead” the policy of civilian destruction is consistent and obvious. Lebanon, 2006 is a case in point, and here is a small and very clear example. In Lebanon many new, modern bridges have been built side by side with older bridges, the older ones being kept intact and usable. In 2006 the Israeli military destroyed all the new bridges and left the old ones intact. I saw numerous examples of this in 2008 when many of the modern bridges had not yet been rebuilt, and we had to drive over the old bridges instead. Clearly the destruction of those bridges had no military purpose since the old bridges were quite adequate for the “enemy’s” use. The purpose of the destruction was purely to “set Lebanon back thirty years” as one Israeli official admitted.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 4:35 PM

      I alternate betw. calling it “massacre” & “war.” But I take yr pt. It was far too one sided to call it a war. Slaughter is another good word to use.

      I should clarify that when I was portraying past & current IDF policy I was NOT stating my own beliefs about this. I was stating the IDF’s & the avg. Israelis’ view of the policy. But it is a fact that a combination of Lebanon & Gaza has turned the IDF into an even more callous, heinous killing machine than it was before then. Bad before, yes. But worse after.

      • Shirin April 10, 2010, 9:09 PM

        I don’t think massacre is at all inaccurate. Neither is slaughter. My conviction is very strong that war is a very inaccurate term for what went on there. From everything I have heard from all sources, including Gazans who were there and who are very unhappy with Hamas, there were very very few Hamas or other Palestinian fighters, and almost no fighting going on. A war requires at least a minimum participation from each side.

        I got that you were not stating your views on IDF policy, and I was speaking in general to the claims that the IDF used to be The Most Moral Army In The World™ until Gaza, 2009. This is very like the delusion so popular among nice liberal Zionist peaceniks that Israel was a good, moral, ethical state until 1967 when it was corrupted by the occupation. In fact, Israel is what it has always been, and so is Zionism. Given that Israel is the ultimate expression of Zionism, Israel is what Zionism has always been. It’s too bad, but that’s how it is.

        And yes, I do agree with you that the IDF has become more callous, vicious, and heinous over the years. So has Israel, but neither has changed fundamentally over time.

  • Gene Schulman April 10, 2010, 10:47 AM

    I can’t do otherwise than agree with Shirin. Operation Cast Lead was certainly not a war, rather a deliberate massacre. Shirin’s comparison to Guernica is somehow apt. A much more detailed discussion of this can be found in Norman Finkelstein’s new book, “This Time We Went Too Far.” I have just finished reading it and sent my opinion of it to Richard. If he would like to post it he has my permission. I certainly recommend it to one and all.

  • tree April 10, 2010, 11:18 AM

    I will add my agreement with Shirin as well. Qibya(1953), Rafah and Khan Younis(1956), and As-Samu(1966) are other early examples of IDF military procedures and tactics similar to what happened recently in Lebanon and Gaza. The scale is merely bigger these days, in line with Israel’s increased military power.

    I would also add that I think you have to understand that from the Israeli government viewpoint, Israel’s “enemies” include much more than Hamas and the Palestinians. It includes Goldstone and various respected human rights organizations throughout the world, and anyone who is seeking to end Israel’s violent and belligerent occupation, or anyone seeking to hold Israel and its officials culpable for its violations of human rights. I suspect the biggest worry of the IDF is that those 700 documents are the proof of the commission of war crimes, in their own handwriting, so to speak. This is what they do not want to get out, because, in a sane world, such proof could lead to long prison sentences for high officials.

    • Gene Schulman April 10, 2010, 11:51 AM

      Tree, speaking of Khan Younis, may I recommend another book that tackles that massacre specifically: “Footnotes in Gaza” by Joe Sacco. This tells the story, in comic strip form, of the 275 Palestinians killed at Khan Younis, and the 111 who died in Rafah, back in 1956 during the Suez crisis. In his NYT review of this book, Patrick Cockburn refers to these
      mass killings as “long forgotten. Obviously they are not.

      Sacco’s illustrations dramatically underline the horrors of those events. Smaller in scope, they were well hidden. Not so the attack on Gaza.

    • Donald April 10, 2010, 7:16 PM

      I don’t even think the scale has changed–the Israeli war in Lebanon in the summer of 1982 was supposed to have killed between 10 and 20 thousand civilians, much greater than what happened in Gaza or in Lebanon in 2006.

      Though to be fair, we Americans don’t really know how many civilians our own military has killed in Iraq and estimates range from about 10,000 civilians (Iraq Body Count figure for the first several years) along with at least that many insurgents to hundreds of thousands. I mean killed directly by the US, quite apart from the Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence.

      Off topic–is anyone else having trouble getting to Mondoweiss or is it just me? I get an error message when I try to go there.

      • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 8:05 PM

        I heard a few days ago that the site was down, though I don’t know why.

        • Gene Schulman April 10, 2010, 11:36 PM

          I’ve had no trouble. I approach it through its listing on Tomdispatch every day. The latest posting (today) is “Eldar summons more Anat Kams to save Israel from itself”, by Weiss.

          On the side bar are ads for the two books I have mentioned here. Please read them.

          • Donald April 11, 2010, 6:05 AM

            That’s weird–I just got to Mondoweiss via Tomdispatch as Gene mentioned, but when I try to get there from here or from the Magnes Zionist site I still get an error message.

      • Shirin April 10, 2010, 9:14 PM

        Good point about Lebanon 1982. And while we are at it, what about Sabra and Shatilla? Sure, the Israelis employed proxies to do their filthy work for them, but that fact does not make them less responsible for it. And, of course Qana – well, we could go on and on, couldn’t we?

        And let’s also look at how the Zionist terrorists targeted civilians before the State of Israel came into being. Deir Yassin, anyone? As I showed above, Israel is what Zionism has always been.

  • Yuval April 10, 2010, 12:11 PM

    As an Israeli who has been following this early on, and appreciates your reporting about this case, I have to disagree with the perceived innocence of Anat Kamm. Since Anat stole hundreds of documents from her military service, including military operation plans, it becomes harder to look at her as a whistle blower. It seems she did not distinguish between bulk data and specific evidence for breach of supreme justice decisions.
    This allows a different reading of her story: A young journalist while at high-school, she saw a potential of using the amazing information she was exposed to while serving in the military.
    It is easy to see that this is a major breach of the pact between the citizen and the state, that could topple the foundations of a society where service of young people from different ideological backgrounds is required. This pact can only be breached where there is specific and immediate danger to the rule of law (human rights, etc). I cannot believe that it took so many documents to show that. It also does not seem she singled out any specific document.
    One of the dangers of her act will be a tightening of political screening for access to top secret documents. This could make for army officials to be monotone ideologically, and will loosen the supervision that civilians have over the military system.
    I do not believe that these would be the consequences had she decided to copy a handful of documents that had specific incrementing information on them.

    As always in these cases, some blogs will martyr her, and other will call her a traitor. I think she is neither, and that she should be punished mildly.

    Yuval

    • Bessan April 10, 2010, 2:08 PM

      “Anat stole hundreds of documents from her military service.”

      So, Yuval, are you saying that Anat Kamm is a Jewish Roxanna Saberi? Why haven’t we seen this story in the US MSM, with Fox news clamoring that justice be done, by gum.

      To continue the analogy, will we soon see Netanyahu imitate Ahmadinejad yet another time (ie neither will go to nuclear confab in DC. To be sure, Ahmadinejad was not invited; Bibi is just in a snit), instruct the Israeli court to hold a soft-ball trial, sentence Kamm to time served, and release her?

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 4:40 PM

      One of the dangers of her act will be a tightening of political screening for access to top secret documents. This could make for army officials to be monotone ideologically, and will loosen the supervision that civilians have over the military system.

      Since you are Israeli you certainly know that their is hardly ideological diversity within the ranks of the IDF esp. not the officer corps. At one time there was, but w. the Judeazation of the IDF, the settlers & a pro settler ideology have become widespread, esp. in certain key units. As for civilian supervision of the military, you’re joking aren’t you? The security apparatus runs everything of any real importance in Israel. There is hardly civilian control. Perhaps the odd decision gets made by a minister here & there. But the essential architecture of the IDF & its power is far beyond civilian control.

      • Yuval April 10, 2010, 6:12 PM

        What do you mean by ‘key certain units’?

        If you mean places where decisions are being made, then you are definitely wrong, at least regarding the junior officers level. Remember that the Israeli army is one where many decisions are made by very young and junior officers. Most serve 4-5 years in the army and then go back to being civilians, as they were before. Many of them (us) keep serving in the reserve units, and thus are in constant contact with what is going on in the army. This is how information gets out about what the army is doing. And this is what I refer to as civilian oversight, because it is true that government oversight of the IDF is lacking.

        If you examine the way the second Lebanon war was understood in the Israeli society and the key role of reserve units in that understanding you will see that the senior officers of the IDF could not control the information of their mistakes and were brought down by this stream of information coming from reserve soldiers and junior officers.
        Similarly ‘Shovrim Shtika’ (in it’s former self, when it was still trying to educate Israelis and not potential foreign donors) had a key role in exposing the loosening of moral norms during the second intifada. These were mostly Kibutz and other left wing soldiers and young officers that served in Hebron.

        I think that is part of the reason why the Anat Kamm story was shocking. Israel is usually a place where stories get around, it’s very tough to hold anything a secret. As it turns out, many people did know and the story was kept quiet for so long not least because of attempts of Anat herself to hush it. While I understand her point of view, this seems the most disturbing aspect of this case – that the DA could silence your disappearance and ‘blackmail’/convince you it is for your own good.

        Therefore I think that it is hard to blaim the Shabak for doing it’s job (and honestly, tell me how would FBI react for a someone copying hundreds of documents including operational plans). It is much more disturbing that the breaks of the legal system, especially the state attorney ( did not stop this embarrassing farce.

        BTW,
        Bessan, I understand you are not happy with my comment, but I didn’t get in what way. Why is she similar to Saberi?

        • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 8:03 PM

          The units which enforce the Occupation are almost all settlers or settler supporters. I know this from IDF soldiers who tell me so.

          It is very strange for you to claim that because there are reservists who serve in the army that this constitutes “oversight.” This is NOT oversight. Oversight is having a prime minister who can & will sack a chief of staff for violating his orders. Truman did this to McArthur & no Israeli PM would dream of doing this in the same fashion to a Ramatkal. Hence no civilian oversight.

          All the supposed leaks by soldiers which exposed IDF abuses are well & good, but again this isn’t oversight. This is a hit or miss system which catches some abuses here & there but isn’t capable of reforming the entire system, which is what Israel & the IDF cry out for.

          I agree w. you that Kamm’s side made an error in facilitating silence regarding the gag, though I can’t know what the particulars were that made them feel this was a good thing for their side.

          tell me how would FBI react for a someone copying hundreds of documents including operational plans

          It’s a shame you don’t know more about U.S. history as you’d know that this was precisely what Daniel Ellsberg DID do. He revealed the orders of battle/war plans for the U.S. Pentagon in Vietnam. For which he was NOT prosecuted nor was the NY TImes. That’s the diff. bet. Israel & a true democracy.

          • Yuval April 10, 2010, 10:03 PM

            Well,
            I brought up civilian supervision and that is what I meant. I did not mean government supervision. I think it is an important aspect in Israeli life that is very different than the US (part of being a country of 7 million rather than 300).
            Also it’s part of being in an army which has mandatory service (this mixes society much faster). It is auxilary to the main channels of society, but it is a strong backup.
            (It also makes Israel much harder to govern).

            As for Daniel Ellsberg.
            Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
            As I understood the case:
            1. He was brought to trial (for >100 years in prison)
            2. NYT was closed down for 15 days for publishing the documents
            3. The trial was overturned because of a lot of unauthorized actions by FBI in the investigation, including wiretapping without court order, attempts to plant evidence etc. and not because the actions themselves didn’t deserve penalty

            It seems that the FBI actually did much worse (and plenty of illegal stuff – without bringing this to court).
            Let’s see how these things turn out in Israel (my guess: less than 2 years in prison).

          • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 11:49 PM

            The Wikipedia article is poorly phrased in one section & both you & it got the facts wrong. The NY Times has NEVER been “closed down” in its history & certainly wasn’t in this case. In fact, since the days of John Peter Zenger in the 19th century (look that up too) no newspaper has ever been closed or even temporarily shut down by the gov’t.

            Publication of the story was held up but not publication of the paper.

            Contrast this to Haaretz which actually agreed to withdraw an entire printed edition of the paper AFTER it had passed the military censor, at the request of the IDF. The NY Times would never have done this.

            Yes, the Ellsberg prosecution committed misdeeds that led to dismissal of all charges. Do you really mean to claim that first, the Shin Bet doesn’t engage in such misdeeds & worse; and that if it did & was exposed that an Israeli court would have the balls to do what a U.S. court did & dismiss the charges against Kam & Blau. You & I both know that this wouldn’t happen in Israel. Not in a million yrs. I wish I could say differently. But there is no similar concept of rule of law & separation of powers & other constitutional guarantees in Israel that we have here.

  • Yakov April 10, 2010, 1:34 PM

    I tend to agree with Yuval, in that Anat’s theft of 2000 documents is hardly consistent with a looming violation of human rights. It looks like she found a treasure trove and took it for safekeeping, in part for personal gain. As to whether or not it constitutes a threat to national security, keeping 2000 classified documents on civilian computers is a threat in it’s own right. Particularly when these documents discuss future events.

    As to what Gene (and others ) have said, I can hardly see how Cast Lead was a massacre, deliberate or not. Merely by death toll, for a modern army aiming to kill, a squadron of F-16s could have killed tens of thousands in day, had murder been the purpose.

    On the contrary, a month long assault, partially ground assault on a densely populated area leaving 1400 dead, of them 400 combatants is evidence to IDF’s attempt to prevent civilian casualties, rather than cause them.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 5:54 PM

      Look, all of this has been said before by pro-Israel apologists before. Pls. don’t repeat arguments we’ve already heard & discredited.

      Egypt killed 3,000 IDF soldiers during the War of Attrition & it was a national trauma for decades to come. And you have the sheer effrontery to attempt to argue that MERELY killing 1,400 indicates the IDF is the most moral army in the world. Pls if you think this is cogent or reasoned argument go away & do yrself a favor. I find this thinking to be borderline monstrous & certainly appalling.

      What’s more important the world thoroughly rejects yr thinking as evidenced by the Goldstone rpt. & calls for international justice after Cast Lead. Get yr head out of the sand & see yr own country the way billions outside it do.

      • Yakov April 11, 2010, 12:30 AM

        Richard, as you can see I’ve said nothing about IDF being the most moral army in the world. I’ve merely claimed that a death toll of 1400, being a tragedy in itself, is incosistent with a systematic attempt at a massacare. Where are the firiring squads? The clensings? The mass graves? The pilage and plunder? None are to be found. So where’s the massacre?

        I’m sorry, I’m not sure why the Goldstone report is a moral rule book to be judged by. As to the world rejecting my line of thinking – the world isn’t just Mr Goldstone and his report.

        Israel surely should be held acountable to international law, no doubt about that. However, I’m confident that IDF haven’t commited any war crimes.

        There’s also the issue of international law itself. International law was never designed to cover this kind of conflict. By “this kind” I mean – assymetric, long lasting and indecisive.

        • Richard Silverstein April 11, 2010, 12:45 AM

          Yakov: You are being disingenuous, entirely disingenuous. You want a firing squad? How about 250 unarmed police cadets slaughtered while attending a graduation ceremony. This was the first attack of the war. These poor blokes didn’t know what hit them. And this btw was a war crime for which the generals will face trial in the Hague some day. Pillage and plunder you want? Haven’t you seen the pictures of the Gazan homes which the IDF destroyed or else merely occupied & trahsed w. racist graffiti? Coverage was in your own newspapers or didn’t you read it?

          The Goldstone rpt is a moral rulebook to be judged by because Judge Goldstone is one of the world’s foremost jurists in similar types of war crimes situations. He wrote a definitive rpt & no one in the Israeli hasbara machine has been able to touch it though so many have tried & failed.

          You either know nothing about what war crimes are or you know nothing about what your army did to Gaza. Either way it doesn’t say much for you. There were war crimes & they will be judged. The longer it takes you to accept this the worse off Israel will be in the long run. The world will simply no longer accept such behavior. And the longer it takes for Israeli to accept that the more of its citizens will end up in Dutch prisons for long sentences.

          The bullcrap about asymmetric warfare is pure IDF/MFA hasbara. Pls. don’t blow that smoke around here. You may believe it. But no one here does & its entirely unconvincing & many have tried it here before you.

          • Yakov April 12, 2010, 8:04 AM

            I don’t see how the attack on Hamas police constitutes a war crime. These men were hardly detectives, traffic directors or paper pushers. The Hamas police is widely known to be a cover for military operations, in addition to some civilian duties. Not just from an administrative point of view, but often the same men in police uniform carry out attacks.

            Yes, the idf destroyed homes. a war in a populated are involves destruction of homes. Were they destroyed for fun? or perhaps because IDF forces were fired upon from these homes? Or because these homes had tunnel openings in them? either way, they are military targets.

            As to homes that were occupied, they were later returned. Some were trashed on purpose, and the responsible forces should be tried (I’m not sure if they were). However, this was local action, not typical of the whole operation. What percentage of occupied homes were trashed?

          • Richard Silverstein April 12, 2010, 11:29 AM

            The Hamas police is widely known to be a cover for military operations,

            ‘Widely known’ by whom? Can you provide a single credible source to support this? If not, don’t make it.

            either way, they are military targets.

            No, they weren’t military targets. And their destruction was a violation of international law. 20,000 Gaza homes were damaged & 4,000 were destroyed completely. Do you understand the enormity of this? Do you care? No, you don’t because for you all that matters is yr own & Israel’s comfort & convenience. Well, I’ve got news for you. The rest of the world is sick & tired of Israeli callousness & they won’t take it anymore. So if you want yr prime ministers & generals in the dock in the Hague then continue on yr merry way. If you don’t want this to happen then reform your country’s ways before it is too late.

            the responsible forces should be tried (I’m not sure if they were)

            Not sure? Why are you an Israeli & not even aware of the impunity of yr own forces, not even aware that only a single IDF officer was disciplined for stealing a credit card & that NO ONE else was disciplined for any of the mayhem the IDF did. Haaretz reported that two officers were disciplined for using white phosphorus against regulations but the IDF denied the claim the next day. Not only that, but Haaretz also documented that the army deliberately trashed all of Gaza to teach a lesson to Gazans about what supporting Hamas would cost them. Israeli politicians also made a point to saying this publicly. This was a war fought for militar objectives, this was war for political objectives. And this is a war crime. Period.

    • Shirin April 10, 2010, 9:32 PM

      What a specious and morally abhorrent argument. If an army is in fact attempting to protect civilians they do not end up killing nearly three times as many civilians as combatants. In fact, they should end up killing FEWER civilians than combatants if they are truly attempting to protect civilians. But do tell us how does the fact that Israel launched the initial surprise attack at precisely the time that hundreds of thousands of school children would be walking home from school fit with your assertion that they were trying to protect civilians, eh?

      • Yakov April 11, 2010, 12:44 AM

        An army can attempt to protect civilians and still end up killing three times more civilians than combatans. Weapons are not precise, have a non-zero radius of action and mistakes are made. In addition, civilians aren’t puppets to be ordered around, an they don’t exaclty do as ordered.

        The IDF invested plenty in trying to keep civilians out of harm’s way by warning them ahead of incoming assult, keeping warfare limited only to limited areas, attempting to use as precise weapons as possible and canceling strikes when they put civilians in the line of fire.

        As to the timing of initial assult, what timing would be right in your book? Some time, children walk home from school. Some other time, they sleep. Yet another time they play soccer or buy groceries. Would you have the IDF to call Hamas and ask them to please step aside?

        The initial surprise attack was targeted at a graduation ceremoney of Hamas policeman, enemy combatants for sure. Plus, it was a surgical strike, aiming only at them. Yes, the graduation ceremony was in a civilian area. However, had Hamas made a clear-cut distinction between civilian police and militray, the police wouldn’t be a target.

  • Ulrich J. Becker April 10, 2010, 1:54 PM

    Forgot one thing:

    HaAretz is after all still supporting Blau and paying his salary while he stays in London. I agree with some Israeli calls for a boycott on the newspaper that has gone morally bankrupt.

    • Richard Silverstein April 15, 2010, 9:21 AM

      Haaretz is doing its job just as the NYT did when it published the Pentagon Papers. I’m proud of the newspaper & Uri Blau.

  • Robin April 10, 2010, 2:00 PM

    Arutz Shiva is chiming in

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/136931

    Given for purely informational purposes on the campaign against her.

  • josh April 10, 2010, 2:04 PM

    ‘lessened the death toll among Gazan civilians, 1,100 of whom were killed in the 2008 war.’

    OK, if we accept that 1100 Gazan civilians were killed during ‘Cast Lead’, then how many more ‘militants’ were killed on top of this number?

  • Yakov April 10, 2010, 3:39 PM

    josh – 300 to 400 terrorists, by various estimates

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 5:48 PM

      “Terrorists?” They were Hamas fighters defending Gaza. That’s not terrorist by any stretch of the imagination. But your number of dead is correct.

      • Yakov April 11, 2010, 12:52 AM

        Blowing up buses , repeatedly firing at civilian targets ,their hit-and-run tactics and their attempt to initimidate civilians, on both sides, make them terrorists.

        They defend Gaza no more than the Taliban defended Afganistan.

        • Richard Silverstein April 11, 2010, 3:10 PM

          Breaking into the homes of Israeli journalists, blowing up unarmed police cadets, firing tank rounds at homes occupied by entire families, & killing them is terror too. Just not terror that you recognize. But that doesn’t make it any less terror.

          They defend Gaza no more than the Taliban defended Afganistan.

          Now, you’re talking like an idiot. They won a democratic election agreed to by Israel & the U.S. They ran the PA fair & square. Now they run Gaza. WHen Israel attacked, they tried to defend Gaza. Your position is such bullcrap that any Arab nation could’ve said the very same about the Palmach pre 1948. Pls. don’t insult us & yrself w. knee jerk slogans that may sound good to you but sound pathetic to anyone else.

          I wonder where it comes from – militray conflicts clearly not being the reason.

          You come right up to the edge of consciousness & then slink back into the shadows. Of course the Occupation is the cause of all of this & of course the national conflict w. the Palestinians is the cause.

          Ashkenazi SAYS he never requested an extension. Do you believe everything every Israeli general or leader says?

          • Yakov April 12, 2010, 8:24 AM

            The elections in Gaza were no more democratic than Saddam’s elections or General Secretary elections in the former USSR.

            In order to have a democratic election, it’s not enough to merely cast votes in a box and later count them. What is needed is free speech and freedom of information. Does the Hamas strike you as an organization respectful of these values? Their subsequent slaughter of prominent Fatah members (and other events) indicate the Hamas used the elections as a step to overthrow the government, a method of operation known throughout history.

            Acceptance of the outcome was an unfortunate political decision, rather than a factual statement.

            I disputed your opinion on the Hamas police in a previous reply so I won’t repeat it, other than in my opinion they are far from the innocent policemen you think they are.

            As to firing on homes with families in them, the IDF repeatedly urged civilians to leave clearly defined combat zones. A house used to fire from is a military target under international law, especially after it’s residents were asked to leave and given time to do so.

            I agree that the Occupation is wrong and that it must end. However, it’s is not the root cause of this national conflict. There have been hostilities between jews and arabs ever since mass aliyah began in early 20th century. The root of this conflict is about some Palestinians accepting they have to give up part of Palestine and about some jews accepting the same.

            Hamas is a movement bent on destroying the national home of the Jewish people, not on achieving independence for the Palestinians. It is unlikely that the end of the occupation in itself will convince them to stop.

          • Richard Silverstein April 12, 2010, 11:03 AM

            The elections in Gaza were no more democratic than Saddam’s elections or General Secretary elections in the former USSR.

            Can you provide a single credible source which supports your absolutely bogus claim? YOu can’t because there aren’t. So here’s a rule of this site. You make a claim, it has to be credible. If challenged you have to be able to provide a source to document it. If you can’t then don’t make the claim. This site is not a free for all where people bloviate about their opinions on politics. It’s a site for serious discussion. So put forward yr opinions, yes. But only if they’re credible ones. If they’re not, don’t bring them forward as we’re not interested in hearing unsupported political propaganda or argument.

            Hamas was entirely respectful during the election process. International monitors reviewed & sanctioned the election as free and fair. Go back & look up the sources. Further, your claim about a Hamas coup is also unsupported. What actually happened & is supported by credible reports to which I’ve linked elsewhere in this blog is that the Bush administration encouraged Abbas to have an armed insurrection & overthrow Hamas. The latter’s takeover in Gaza was motivated by this intelligence information which they received. So were there killings on both sides that were grisly & horrific? Yes. During the pre-State era were there killings by one political party of operatives of another? Yes. The problem w. ideologues like you is that you either forget or ignore yr own history when it’s convenient to do so.

            As for the Hamas policemen being anything other than that, would you approve of Hamas rocketing a graduation ceremony of unarmed Israeli policemen in their barracks killing 250? If you would, then fine I have no problem w. you. If yr answer is no, then you’re once again a hypocrite who conveniently overlooks issues when its your own ox being gored. And can you point to any acts of terror against Israel that any of these 250 policemen had engaged in to justify killing all of them?

            the IDF repeatedly urged civilians to leave clearly defined combat zones.

            You have yet another problem. The Palestinians in this particular case were told by Israelis to leave their home & take shelter in another, which they did. A 2nd unit then blasted them to smithereens killing around 30 including men, women and children. Or how about rocketing a mosque during prayers killing a score or two? How’s that for massacre? And regarding the claim that Israelis warned civilians to evacuate an area–how could they do so safely when many of these same areas were free fire zones? And in fact, many civilians were shot at & killed while waving white flags because there were such free fire zones. Again, this is all documented in Israeli news sources so you don’t need to believe me.

            Your blather about the Occupation must end is just that, blather. You can say this till the cows come home & it doesn’t mean a damn thing. You don’t have the vaguest clue of the deep injustice being done by Israelis forces to Palestinians every day & how this rots Israel itself & endangers the existence of the nation we both love.

            Palestinians have already indicated they’re prepared to accept Israel inside pre 67 borders. It is Israel that has refused to answer this call for compromise. When your own gov’t is willing to come to the table & say it will willing to withdraw fr. these territories which it conquered & holds illegally, then you can come to me & say how proud you are of yr liberal values opposing the Occupation.

            You don’t know a single thing about Hamas except what you read in either the Jerusalem Post of the pages of any other right wing Israeli shmateh. But what they & you claim to know about Hamas is useful drivel that is completely wrong. They are not what you claim. They are not Boy Scouts & perhaps not even people I would support were I a Palestinian. But they are absolutely not what you claim they are & you don’t have the faintest clue. Do not come here & display your prejudices. I’m not interested in hearing them. When you can come here w. arguments that are based on fact then I can respect you even if we disagree.

            All of your arguments are ones that have been brought forward by numerous pro Israel commenters before you. I’m really not interested in rehashing arguments I’ve argued before. So pls. try not to repeat. Add to the debate if you can & do so with credible sources & evidence. But don’t just spout opinions.

  • Shraga Elam April 10, 2010, 4:03 PM

    Richard,
    Because of your central role in transporting the Kamm/Blau Affaire from the Israeli blogosphere to the English speaking mainstream media and then back to Israel, your shouldn’t waste your credit with wasting your time with trivia like how come that Kamm was photographed at the Petakh Tikva Court on December 29th.
    It is known that many Israeli journalists were informed about the case and there is no additional need to prove it.
    Things like the censored Ha’aretz article on the military operation in Gaza are the real issues. BTW according to several statements from Ha’aretz the said article was at first approved by the censorship and after it was already printed, the censorship changed its might and Ha’aretz suffered losses at it had to withdraw the printed edition.
    Now is the time to demand a reprint of this article. This most interesting part is info about the so called phased three, which was obviously an intensification of the operation including e.g. mass expulsion etc.
    I don’t believe the statement of the high ranking officer that there was a real change in the plans because of Kamm’s material. The info wasn’t make public so there was no real reason for it. The youngest statement sounds like the Israeli High Command covering its hide just in case it’ll be attacked on this issue.
    At the same time we have to consider that Kamm was released from the army a year before the Gaza operation. This means that on the concrete operational level the data couldn’t have been up to date. Such changes took places even without any Kamm’s leak. Circumstances changed and therefore it the paln from 2007 couldn’t have been in all fields up to date.
    Nevertheless the paper is important in order to know what were the real aims of the operation as formulated by the Israeli army. This paper can be very relevant to the investigation initiated by the UN.
    Assuming that Blau is still in the possession of the documents and/or at least the censored Ha’aretz article he should be asked by the UN to deliver this data and in return should get an asylum and the whole program for defending witnesses.

    • Ilene April 10, 2010, 5:36 PM

      Richard’s blog would be the perfect place to expose this article. I hope someone gets it to him.

      Richard, you are doing unbelievably important work here and I really sense that this has gone to the next level.

      I only wish I had some money to contribute to such a worthwhile cause. I promise you that I will contribute as soon as my financial situation improves.

  • Pedro d'Ibazo April 10, 2010, 8:54 PM

    Anat Kamm should be executed. Does Israel have such a penalty? The level of her treason is breathtaking.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2010, 11:51 PM

      Actually, I think you’ve just committed hara kiri yrself as a future commenter. We don’t allow commenters to call for the death of anyone here.

    • Gene Schulman April 11, 2010, 7:58 AM

      No one should be executed, ever, for any reason. The level of Pedro d’Ibazo’s I.Q is cause for despair for the human race.

      “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah.” Rabbi Hillel

  • amir April 11, 2010, 1:59 PM

    You can’t compare the Kamm case to the Ellsberg case because the Kamm case just started and we don’t know how it will end and the Ellsberg case ended years ago. Ellsberg was charged with offenses worth 115 years of prison time. This is the point in time where the comparison could be made, if at all. And before he turned to the press, he turned to sympathetic Senators. Who did Kamm turn to before Haaretz. Oh yes, Yediot Ahronot.
    Ellsberg was acquitted for the same reason OJ Simpson was acquitted, because of someone else’s incompetence or misdeeds, not because he was innocent. The Ellsberg case is not an example of how great a democracy the US is (anymore than the OJ Simpson case is) but rather of how corrupt Nixon’s henchmen were.

    • Richard Silverstein April 11, 2010, 3:17 PM

      ANd the Kamm-Blau case is an example of how corrupt & lawless the Shin Bet is. Or did you forget the thugs broke into his flat & turned it upside down stealing God knows what just for show? And we know from Haggai Matar’s story in Dimi Reider’s blog that such break ins are routine procedure for the Shin Bet. Now who is corrupt & lawless??

      • amir April 11, 2010, 8:05 PM

        And how do you know who broke into his house? Just for your information, my house was also broken into once. I know dozens of people whose houses were broken into. It’s pure speculation that the shin bet did it. It could have been a simple burglary (“the policeman investigating told him: ‘They must’ve been looking for something.’ ” – like maybe money or jewelry), or even worse someone from the ranks of the enemy, reading his posts realized the some good info cold be found at his house.
        BTW – nothing Haaretz writes should be considered unbiased reporting since they, and their employee or a party to this investigation. Each article they write should include a conflict of interest statement (I’m not holding my breath).

        • Richard Silverstein April 11, 2010, 11:12 PM

          It’s pure speculation that the shin bet did it.

          Ah yes, just as the multiple break ins that Haggai Matar describes were pure burglaries by thieves. How naive you can be when you feel yr country’s ox is being gored.

          nothing Haaretz writes should be considered unbiased reporting since they, and their employee or a party to this investigation.

          Given that Israelis are shreying for Haaretz to be declared a terrorist organization I give them broad leeway to advance their own agenda in self-defense. If only you would say the same about the far more dubious & self interested (in fact often mendacious) statements of the Shin Bet & IDF, then I’d find you less guilty of yr own conflict of interest.