Category Archives: Reporting

Foreign Policy: Israeli Arabs, The One State and the Likud

(Cross-posted with +972 Magazine)

I have a new piece in Foreign Policy, discussing the relations between Jewish and Arab MKs and their perspective on the one state solution. Interviewed are Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), Deputy-Speaker Ahmed Tibi (Raam-Taal), and MK Hanin Zoabi (of Balad and of the Gaza flotilla fame).  Naturally, I don’t think they’re talking about the same “one state” solution; but if we get to a situation where the main argument is about which kind of a one state is most desirable, this will be after tremendous shift in Israeli and regional politics. For now, the fact they are talking about this once-taboo solution and use similar terminology is significant enough.

I’m pessimistic in the extreme about the current talks in Washington; in a nutshell, the Palestinians were bullie into the negotiations, and Netanyahu appears to be mostly concerned with buying time. He can be fairly sure the Administration won’t seriously pressure him so close to an alreadybleakly looking midterms. After that, there’s very little time before the 2012 campaign kicks in, and I would guess much of the American effort will be dedicated to keep the peace process cooking on slow flames, keeping fingers crossed it does not explode when Netanyahu renews building in settlements, when the Hamas decides to escalate its power struggle with the PLO, or when something else goes suddenly and terribly wrong and just happens to be the last straw.

Against this background, developments like the ones I track in the Foreign Policy piece are encouraging – however they might develop further, they shake up the status quo and offer fresh perspectives. We could all use some cure for the déjà vu.

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Kamm-Blau: Arrest warrant, threats and memories of a break-in

A self-explanatory picture from an anti-Kamm Facebook group

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.


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Guest Post: Breaking in with intent to terrorise

Breaking in with intent to terrorise / Haggai Mattar

There was one point that stood out for me in Uri Blau’s recollection of his pursuit by the Shin Bet in the Anat Kamm affair. Blau, Haaretz’s outstanding investigative reporter, recalls how as he was traveling in the Far East he got a call saying his house was broken into. “It looks like they were looking for something,” said the policeman on the phone. Reading this reminded me how they broke into my home, too.

It was about 8 years ago. I was active for the Shimnistim Letter (a statement of refusal by conscientious draft objectors), and I was one of those tasked with coordinating the signatories’ name lists.  One day, my parents’ home was broken into, and my computer was taken. Nothing else. Computers belonging to other family members, money, valuables were all spared. In the same month, break-ins took place in the homes of prominent activists in Courage to Refuse and Yesh Gvul, two other conscientious objection organisations. The houses were all turned upside down, and in all of them the only items missing were computers with CO name lists.

I remember being appalled – not really comprehending back then how Israeli “security forces” operated – and as the years went by, I learned to smile back at my naivety. But reading Blau’s account today got me wondering. Why, come to think of it, do they need to break into our homes? After all, there are legal routes to obtain search warrants and confiscate computers, in a perfectly orderly manner. If they could legally confiscate “Anarchists Against the Wall” t-shirts from the home of one of my friends, or if they found an ex-Mossad, friendly judge to discuss the gag order on the Anat Kamm affair – in other words, if the law is on their side, they could’ve knocked on our door and confiscate everything legally. So why burgle?

The answer is that breaking in signifies the deeper truth about the nature of their work.  Like the policeman who handcuffs a demonstrator, beats him up out of the camera’s sight and then claims he used reasonable force; or like the Mossad that murders people in faraway countries without ever admitting it – the innermost essence of the Shin Bet is embedded into such break-ins. A break-in like that is a statement: “We are the law, and we are above the law, and under the radar of the law, as we please”; and also, “you know it’s us, and there’s nothing you can do about it”; and at the end of the day, “we are everywhere in your life, all the time, and don’t you forget it.” It’s breaking in with intent to terrorise.

Not too long after the break-in I was already in jail [for conscientious objection – D.R.], and my room and belongings have been searched many times. And still, few experiences can be as humiliating as finding out someone roamed over your things without your presence. It’s not for nothing that the law says searches must be conducted in the presence of two witnesses; and it’s not for nothing that this law doesn’t apply in the Occupied Territories, where activists, academics, farmers, workers, teachers and children are dragged from their beds into the streets in the dead of night, and are only allowed to return once their home has been thoroughly turned upside down. I’ve seen them: Coming back and digging through what had been a wardrobe, a bed or a chest of drawers, trying to figure out what had survived, and trying to second-guess the thoughts of these demigods, omnipotent and omnipresent, who went through their belongings and left but destruction in their wake.

Uri Blau is in exile in Britain, his email and his phone are tapped, and he is threatened with interrogation and arrest if he dares to return to Israel. He is also awaited by his upturned flat, a silent testimony to the terror hovering over all of us.

Translation from Hebrew: Dimi Reider

A resident of Nilin is trying to restore a room in his house, completely wrecked by soldiers during a 4-day punitive curfew in response to protests, July 2008. The soldiers entered the residence while the owners were locked up in another house. Photo: Activestills.org


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Anat Kamm: Friday commentary round-up

After holding back for so long, the mainstream media have now unleashed an absolute deluge of information. The gist of the the coverage is available to English readers via Haaretz, YnetNews and the Jerusalem Post. I’ll confine myself to picking out the nuggets:

Haaretz is on the war path, unequivocally defending Blau and Kamm. At the top of the list is obviously Blau’s own testimony; it’s followed closely by an editorial trying to move the focus back to the very serious crimes Anat exposed through what in comparison looks like a minor misdemeanour; and by a scathing op-ed from Akiva Eldar, who says the very people who are hounding Kamm have given him secret documents over the years:

Some of the same prominent politicians and security figures who are today expressing shock at Kam’s alleged misdeeds have, during my decades of journalism, in fact given me material for countless articles related to strategic issues.

The difference between the journalist who thrives off of access to classified material and the kind who earns his livelihood printing the statements of spokespeople is akin to the difference between a democratic state and a totalitarian regime. A democratic government does not, as a rule, stem leaks. Nor does it interrogate journalists.

…Ouch.

Yossi Melman also reminds readers that not so long ago, the deputy-head of the Mossad (!) was suspected of near-identical offences and got off very lightly indeed. Melman’s article, bizarrely, was removed from the Haaretz Hebrew website hours after publication, but is still available on the English website and in some Hebrew blogs.

It bears remembering, however, that Haaretz itself had been accused of compromising Kamm by printing the original documents and enabling investigators to trace their source; and, more crucially perhaps, Oren Persico in last night’s Seventh Eye says Kamm may not have been told told of the agreement between Blau and the Shin Bet. Had she knew, Persico says, she may well not have confessed to taking any more documents than the ones Blau already published – which, incidentally, may have spared Blau his exile, since if she didn’t confess the Shin Bet wouldn’t have known he’s roaming the globe with a treasure trove of classified information. Haaretz disagrees.

Incidentally, disclosing this fact by the Shin Bet among shrieks of horror of what-will-we-ever-do-if-enemy-agents-get-their-hands-on-Blau constitutes, in fact, a loud and clear invitation for enemy agents to, err, get their hands on Blau. Jerusalem Post’s Amir Mizroch writes on his blog:

Why, if there is an Israeli journalist somewhere in London who has in his possession thousands of top-secret IDF documents, would Israel’s security agency want everyone to know?

Wouldn’t this information, disseminated around the world over the Internet, radio, TV and print, paint a big, bright bulls-eye on Haaretz journalist Uri Blau, waiting out the storm in London? Wouldn’t it make Blau an attractive target for enemy intelligence agencies and terrorist groups operating in the UK? It’s almost as if Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, by releasing all of this information Thursday, was saying to Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Hizbullah and Iranian intelligence agents in London: “Yalla, be our guests, go get Uri Blau.”

I’m afraid Mizroch’s right, and although Yuval Diskin said yesterday his agency was “taking off the gloves” (and people like Diskin only do that to punch someone), it sounds like he doesn’t mind if someone else got to Blau first. This, incidentally, also indirectly supports Kamm’s lawyers assertions that both the numbers and the sensitivity of the documents are being exaggerated by the state – if the documents WERE sensitive enough to put Blau’s and other’s lives at risk, the Mossad would be trying to apprehend him and Israeli journalists could easily be persuaded to keep mum about this particular detail of the story. It looks like the information Blau has is only dangerous to top brass, and/or that the main objective of the authorities here is to get even. Mizroch stipulates that the purpose of this Blau-baiting is to get him to return home “for his own good.”

Also in the blogosphere, Jeryy Haber has summarised some important points made by the esteemed Yossi Gurvitz. If there’s one Hebrew blog English readers can’t afford to miss, it’s Gurvitz’s “George’s Friends” (named, and deservingly so, after George Orwell’s essay work):

1. It’s not espionage. Anat Kamm has been accused of spying, no less. But Shabak Chief Yuval Diskin does not claim that the Uri Blau Haaretz articles damaged Israeli security. (He can’t, can he? After all, it passed military censorship) So he can only refer to the “thousands of documents” that Kamm has confessed to stealing, and which she passed to Uri Blau (according to Diskin). And what is the argument? “Those documents are full of security and operational secrets that would endanger the lives of soldiers were they to fall into enemy hands.” But they haven’t fallen into enemy hands, so this is not espionage, nor is there intent. They were leaked to a journalist who has them in his possession (according to the Shabak). So whatever Kamm did, it was not espionage.

2. The Shabak’s history of exaggerated accusations. Gurvitz points out that Diskin in his briefing said that the media should not compare Kamm to Tali Fahima. And why not? Because in several well-publicized cases, the Shabak and the media initially painted the accused as endangering the security of the state — only to see that accusation wither away. Tali Fahima was accused of being an enemy agent, and planning terrorists attacks. When the trial began, the prosecution said (generously) that they would not seek the death penalty. Pretty good move, since she ended up getting a few years in jail. And let’s not forget Sheikh Raad Saalah who was arrested in a big public way for contacting foreign agents, and ended up being convicted of some minor money crimes. In other words, the tactic scare the accused to death, then get a plea bargain. Gurvitz asks how credible is the charge that Blau has in his possession documents that will damage IDF soldiers, and he is refusing to return them? It seems more likely that he has potentially damaging documents to the IDF brass.

3. Discrimination based on rank. Gurvitz points out that other IDF brass have removed documents from bases, and in one case, Elazar Stern, the head of the Education Corps leaked classified documents to Yair Lapid, a columnist. Some of these people were disciplined; Stern had to pay damages to the soldier whom he had ratted on; but nobody has been brought up on charges of espionage. Many other lower ranks of soldiers have “informed” against their superiors to human rights organizations, and their military careers have ended as a result (Gurvitz did that himself during the first intifada.) But none of these were considered more than minor offenses.

In a piece posted earlier this week, removed on Kamm’s request and now reposted, Gurvitz also explained the (jaw-dropping) Supreme Court ruling that makes it possible to accuse an Israeli passing Israeli documents to an Israeli journalist for publication in Israel of espionage:

As we may recall, former nuclear reactor technician Mordechai Vaanunu fled the country with a number of documents ripping apart the curtain of Israel’s “nuclear ambiguity”. Vaanunu gave the information to the Sunday Times in 1986, and shortly afterwards was abducted by the Mossad in Italy and taken to Israel. He was tried on charges of grave espionage, and convicted.
Vaanunu then appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing he was not a spy and had never met with foreign agents. The Supreme Court, led by its then-Preisdent Meir Shamgar, rejected the appeal. Shamgar wrote (.pdf, Hebrew; paragraph 28b):
“I find this argument unacceptable. The appealer’s acts are no less grave than directly divulging secret information to a foreign agent. Quite the contrary. The agent is, indeed, an agent for an enemy state or a terrorist organisation, and the information he collects are used by the state or organisation in their various military preparations against Israel. But the fact that the informations is published simultaneously, without exception to all enemy states and their agents, and to all terrorist organisations, doubles and triples the gravity [of Vaanunu’s acts]”.
You might wanna read this again. Yes, there’s a precedent-setting ruling that equated all journalists and news outlets to hostile intelligence organisations. Yes, it’s now being used against an Israeli citizen who divulged information of criminal acts committed by Israeli public servants to an Israeli journalist. Yep. Welcome to the only democracy in the Middle East.
I’ll be out of town until tomorrow noon, so if you have more articles I think I should’ve mentioned, please post them in the comment section below.

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Anat Kamm Indictment (English); rolling thread

(Times are Thursday, April 8, GMT+2. Friday updates are here.)

2pm The gag order was finally removed, and now Israelis know what the rest of the world has known of some time – a young journalist, Anat Kamm, is suspected of acquiring as many as 2,000 classified documents, some of which were leaked to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau. The gag order removal was accompanied by the release of an abridged indictment, and a massive assault on Kamm in the media.

We’ll get to the media assault in a second, but first, the indictment. My translation is below. I would highlight a number of issues:

1. The charges are grave in the extreme. Although the documents were delivered by an Israeli soldier to an Israeli journalist, Kamm is charged with grave espionage – among other things, probably thanks to the infamous Shamgar ruling on the Vaanunu appeal, which effectively equated journalists to spies.

2. Apparently Kamm had first offered the documents to Yedioth Ahronoth’s Yossi Yehoshua, but “the delivery did not take place.” Yehoshua is slated to appear as a witness for the prosecution. His decision whether to appear or not, and whether to testify against his source, will be a historic test for dignity and integrity of Israeli journalism.

3. There’s a “third man” – note that she used someone else to copy the documents (3a in the indictment).

4.  The investigation is led by the International Crimes Investigation Unit. It may have to do with the charge – espionage – or may hint she had tried to pass the documents abroad. I guess we’ll know soon enough.

5. Naturally enough, the indictment doesn’t mention the fact some of the documents she leaked contained evidence of war crimes and criminal offences carried out by her superiors.

6. Her home address has been rather sloppily obscured from the indictment and can be easily discerned (I did a better job of concealing it in the Hebrew original I uploaded)

Without further ado:

District Court of Tel Aviv Jaffa

Serious Crime Case 17959-01-10

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The State of Israel

vs

Anat Kamm (b. 1987)

(In house arrest since 15 December 2009)

INDICTMENT (for publication)

(Top Secret appendixes to this indictment will be served to the court in a sealed envelope. The court is asked to keep it (sic) in the safe).

A. The facts of the case :

1. Since August 2005 to June 2007, as part of her military service, the accused served as office clerk in the bureau of GOC Central Command (Hence: GOC). She was promoted to assistant head of bureau in April 2006.

2. As part of her work, the accused was exposed to many documents and presentations in various degrees of classification, authored in the various departments of the General Staff, the Chief of Staff’s office, and the various divisions of the command. The documents contained plans of military operations, summaries of discussions within the IDF,  deployment and order of battle (ORBAT) of IDF forces, summaries of internal IDF inquiries, IDF situation estimates, IDF targets, and so on and so forth (hence: documents and presentations).

3.

a. During her military service the accused stored in a special folder the documents and presentations and, near her discharge from the IDF, on or about May 2007, the accused, through another, copied the contents of the file onto two discs, one for documents and the other for presentations.

b. The accused did so out of ideological motivations and with the intent to damage the security of the state, among other means, through publishing the documents to the general public.

4.

a. After copying the files, the accused took the disks and carried the document disk to her home, despite having on authorisation to do so.

b. In or about June 2007, the accused copied the document disk onto the mobile IBM computer at her home.

c. The document disk contained over two thousand documents, 700 of which were classified as “secret” and “top secret.”

d. All the documents as detailed in the document list in the top secret addendum to this indictment (marked – Appendix A).

5. In summer 2008, the accused offered the documents in her possession to journalist Yossi Yehoshua, but the delivery of the documents to Yehoshua never took place.

6. On or about September 2008, the accused, acting without legal authority and with the intention to harm the security of the state, delivered a large amount of documents to journalist Uri Blau (hence: Blau), including documents classified as “top secret” and “secret” (the lists of documents in Appendix B and Appendix C).

7. After delivering the documents to Blau, the accused had an unknown number of conversations with him to clarify, without legal authority and with intention to harm the security of the state, the contents of the documents, including operation names, codes, targets and dates, and so on.

8. Using the information revealed in some of the documents given to Blau by the accused, Blau published, beginning in November 2008, a number of stories in the Haaretz newspaper.

9. By her acts listed above the accused collected, held over two years and divulged secret information, without having the authority to do so, and all with the intention to harm the security of the state.

B. The charges against the accused:

1. Grave Espionage (divulging secret information with the intent to harm the security of the state) – an offence against clause 13b of the Penal Law 1977 (hence: The law).

2. Grave Espionage (gathering secret information with the intention to harm the security of the state) – an offence against clause 113c of the law.

C. Prosecution Witnesses

1-8 Officers of the National International Crime Investigation Unit [Due to time constraints I’ll publish the names of these witnesses later on today]

9. “Shaykeh” – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)

10. Rani – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)

11. “Steve” – Shin Bet (to be invited through the Tel Aviv District Prosecution)

12. Yossi Yehoshua, of 23 Hagalgal Street, Ramat Gan 52392

THE WITNESS LIST IS NOT FINAL.

7 April 2010, Tel Aviv

Hadas Forrer-Gafni

Senior Deputy A at Tel Aviv District Criminal Prosecution

Update 3pm: According to Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin, there had been an agreement between Blau and the Shin Bet: Blau would return the classified documents he used for his story, the computer on which he kept them will be physically destroyed (!) in his presence, and the state will provide him with a new computer. All this was carried out in December, but Blau “broke the agreement” and fled abroad with some documents still in his possession. Haaretz denied any wrongful conduct on part of Blau. I hope as hell Blau wasn’t naive enough to use a computer offered to him by the Shin Bet for his daily work.

Update 3:15pm: Kamm’s “associates” (probably friends, family or former employers) point out there are serious gaps between how the prosecution presents the leaked documents and their actual content. The fact that the court released Kamm to house arrest and allowed her to keep working as a journalist speaks for itself, they say.

Update 3:30pm: Predictably enough both the indictment and the media are trying to pin political, anti-state motives on what Kamm has done (“She’s left of Gideon Levy”, says Channel 10-owned Nana#mce_temp_url#). It’s important to stress Kamm’s politics are actually quite centrist and mainstream; consider, for instance, the scathing op-ed (titled “Refusnik, I’m ashamed of you!“) she wrote against her former schoolmate, conscientous objector and protest organiser Sahar Vardi.

To my mind, Kamm appears to be an earnestly patriotic woman who had faith in her country and trusted its authorities to follow the rules. In her military service, that very basic sense of decency was affronted by the fact the authorities couldn’t care less about the rules, and vigorously engaged gross violations of Israeli and international law; this is  especially true about her superior, Brig Gen Yair Naveh. She decided to act on it, and did the most democratic thing she could have done: She yanked at the alarm bell. People coming from sincere faith to a rude awakening often become the most damning accusers.

With this in mind, I’d like to echo the words of analyst Noam Sheizaf, who writes today:

Anat Kamm did Israeli democracy a great service. She exposed the fact that senior IDF generals, including Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, knowingly violated our own supreme court ruling by ordering the assassinations of Palestinians even when it was possible to arrest them, and when it was known innocent people might be killed. Again, this is not about Left or Right. It is about generals defying court orders.

The IDF and Shin Beit want the world to forget this. This is why they wanted to keep this case in the dark, and this is why they will work twice as hard to turn the public against Anat.

Let’s make sure we never forget who’s the criminal and who’s the whistleblower in all of this.

(Times are Thursday, April 8, GMT+2. Friday updates are here.)

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Jerusalem Post dumps Naomi Chazan

Full report by Jonathan Lis with contributions by yours truly is here

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US Journalist “voluntarily expelled” from Israel; Interior ministry document implies critical reporting reason for deportation

(for Index on Censorship)

Jewish-American journalist Jared Malsin, the  chief English editor at the Maan agency, was put on a plane to New York this morning, without being allowed to speak to his lawyer. His appeal process was cut short.

According to colleagues at Maan,  Malsin last met with his lawyer, Castro Daud, yesterday, to discuss his statement for an appeal hearing, scheduled to be held at Tel Aviv district court. Shortly after Daud lef Malsin was approached by two officials, who asked him to write an independent motion stating he was not being forced to leave the country and that when he left, he would leave voluntarily. They told Malsin this was necessary for his departure, and Malsin, having spent a week in a detention cell at Ben Gurion airport, did as he was told. He was not allowed to speak to his lawyer before or after signing the statement, and colleagues said he was not made aware this would have any implications on his appeal.

However, the statement was quickly delivered to the judge, who proceeded to close the appeal process and clear the ground for Malsin’s deportation.

Last night,  Daud was told that his client has decided to terminate his appeal and leave Israel, and that he would be deported to Prague.

[….]

The District Attorney’s office claimed in an earlier statement to the Tel Aviv court that Malsin was being deported for strictly legal considerations — having entered Israel multiple times, allegedly lied about his intention to immigrate and outstayed his welcome. Both government spokesman Mark Regev and Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad denied Malsin’s detention had anything to do with his writing. However, an internal report on his interrogation obtained by Maan reveals that Malsin’s deportation is directly linked to his journalistic work.

The report says Malsin has entered Israel a number of time, stating on the last occasion that he was considering making “aliyah” — immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return, which guarantees citizenship to any Jewish person anywhere.

“Searching his name on the internet showed that on his personal website — in his CV — he states that he has been covering events in the Palestinian Authority for the past year and seven months,” reads the report. “Further search brought up articles of which in which he covers events in the territories from a viewpoint critical of Israel. When asked why would he consider making an aliyah and becoming an Israeli citizen, since his anti-Israel opinions were perfectly clear, the passenger chose to remain silent.

Click here to read the rest of the piece,  or click below to see the Interior Ministry report.

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