The formal and informal reaction to the Kamm-Blau affair kicked into gear over the weekend. On the formal level, Maariv-NRG reported this morning an arrest warrant has been issued for Blau, and he is now considered “a runaway felon” (they meant “suspect,” surely?). The report goes on to say:
Blau’s arrest warrant has been signed by the head of the police investigative team at the National International Crimes Investigation Unit, Chief Superintendent Amir Moshe. The Shin Bet and police investigators have two options: One, to openly work for Blau’s arrest through the Israeli police representative in Europe and the Interpol; and another, to launch a Mossad action, as done in the case of nuclear spy [sic] Mordechai Vaanunu, who was abducted abroad and smuggled back to Israel.
Yossi Gurvitz has a fine post up this morning, with two points of particular interest. He gives a partial list of very senior officials who had leaked top-secret documents (Benjamin Netanyahu, who read out a top-secret document on Israeli-Syrian negotiations with intent to undermine the talks, in 1995; Eli Zaira, head of the Ineligence Corps during the October war fiasco, who recently disclosed the name of Israel’s agent in Cairo at the time of the war – leading to the agent’s murder in London; and former director of the Prime Minister’s bureau and now MK Danny Yatom, who nicked a top-secret paper from his office and put it in his memoirs). Gurvitz argues, quite soundly, that the charges against Kamm may well be levelled against any of the above – but just like Yossi Melman wrote on Thursday, what is allowed to Jupiter is completely off limits to the bull.
In the second part of his post Gurvitz refers to the security agencies’ desire to capture Blau and to the popular support for some such similar action.
I had a short chat with my dad about the Blau affair. The chat was brief mostly because he kept fantasising about a Mossad team assassinating the reporter. Going through reader’s comments, also in Haaretz, seems to indicate that this fantasy – disguised, a-la mode, into talk about “tennis troupes” – is pretty popular. Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin took the liberty at his press conference to sound off rather thinly veiled threats against Blau, who, Diskin said, is being targeted by terrorists. Colonel (res.) Jonathan Dahuah-Halevy made similar threats in his Ynet column.
Since all this is beginning to sound like tiling the soil for making someIsraeli dreams come true, someone should make clear to our shade-sporting, wrist-talking best and brightest that it’s doubtful whether any Israeli action can possibly be more damaging to Israel- short of assassinating Obama, maybe. If Blau dies some strange death in London, the entire world will assume the Mossad/Shin Bet had done it – and Israeli citizens should conclude no different.
Now, most of the semi-literate, snarling “patriots” will only be too glad – their mental world is already anyway a mix of Sparta and Nazi Germany. But for sane people, and for most of the world, it will be the final proof Israel had ceased being a democracy. For the information of Diskin and the Shu-Shu bunch: An outrage will ensue even if Blau gets innocently run over, or catches some diseases. If I were you, I’d assign a team of medics and bodyguards at Blau’s service.
Whether or not someone in either agency is contemplating causing serious bodily harm to Blau – which I hope they’re not – it seems not at all unlikely some kind of forced, and utterly illegal, “arrest” on foreign soil might be attempted. Gurvitz is sadly right about the public mood: Israelis are seething with rage – – at the two reporters, of course, not at the military chiefs whose suspected crimes the two exposed. The outrage is evident not only in comments on Israeli news sites, but seriously vile facebook groups – Richard Silverstein covered some here, I’ll post a list in a comment – and in letters to the editor. A prominent Haaretz reporter noted in a personal blog:
Since this morning, I got a whole stack of letters saying Kamm is a traitor, Blau is a traitor and the two should probably be shot. That’s madness. This is Kamm’s and Blau’s country. And it’s their media. And however serious her offence as a serving soldier might have been – the question of whether state institutions have the right to break the law and keep it secret from their citizens should in all times remain part of the discussion.
Meanwhile, the same Ma’ariv report I cited above says Kamm’s defence team is working on a plea bargain, and features the prosecutor curiously re-interpreting some of the charges:
The prosecutor [Hadas Forrer-Gafni] said that although the charge is titled “grave espionage,” it as a “clause that remains from before the establishment of the state, that actually means holding and divulging classified documents. There was a number of stories based on this material, not just one, but the problem isn’t publication – the problem is holding on to the documents,” she said.
Quite apart from it all, journalist Haggai Mattar posted on Facebook a short text reminiscing about the time the Shin Bet broke into his home, in 2002. It’s a powerful piece and worth a read; I’ve put it up as a separate post, here.
And last but not least, Haaretz had put up answers to four key questions on the Kamm-Blau affair. As concise as it gets.