Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Israeli woman detained over leak


A former Israeli soldier is being kept under house arrest after being accused of leaking classified military information about Israel’s policy of assassinating wanted militants, people familiar with the case said on Thursday.

Anat Kam, 23, was arrested in December and was charged with passing information with the intent of harming national security. A court-imposed gag order has prohibited officials in Israel or Israeli media from releasing details of the affair.

The US-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), which is not subject to the gag order, first reported the story earlier this week.

People familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the gag order, said Kam was accused of copying classified documents while she was a soldier and leaking them to the Haaretz daily.

The newspaper published a story that accused the military of defying an Israeli Supreme Court ruling against killing wanted Palestinian militants who could have been captured alive.

A November 2008 Haaretz story suggested the military had unilaterally loosened its rules of engagement and marked militants for assassination.

Israel’s targeted killing policy was one of its most contentious in its years of bloody battle against a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000. Critics charged it to be illegal extrajudicial killing, while supporters credit it with quashing the Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and shooting attacks.

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

But the Haaretz report cited a document from March 2007 that included an order from Major General Yair Naveh, then the top Israeli commander in the West Bank, permitting firing upon three top Palestinian militants even if they did not pose clear and present dangers.

That summer, one of the men, Ziad Malaisha, of the Islamic Jihad, was killed in the West Bank town of Jenin. Experts interviewed by Haaretz said the order was illegal. Naveh told Haaretz at the time that the killing was justified and did not violate the court ruling.

Naveh is now retired and could not be reached for comment.

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