Israeli Reporter On The Run Hiding in London

Jeremy Last - Thursday 8th April 2010

AN ISRAELI journalist is hiding in London over fears he could be arrested for treason if he returns home.

Haaretz reporter Uri Blau left his homeland in December, one year after the publication of a story claiming the IDF flouted a ruling by Israel’s supreme court when it assassinated Palestinian terrorists.

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It is believed that Blau obtained sensitive information from a fellow Israeli journalist, who is expected to go on trial later this month for alleged treason and espionage.

Anat Kam is reported to have obtained secret documents proving that two Islamic Jihad leaders were killed by the Israeli army, even though it was possible to simply arrest them.

In 2006 the court limited military assassinations to extraordinary cases, but the Blau report detailed killings which allegedly went against this ruling and took place in 2007.

Kam, 23, is believed to have leaked confidential documentation while working in the office of GOC Central Command Yair Naveh during her military service. She is now under house arrest, although her case has not been reported specifically in the Israeli media due to a gagging order preventing the publication of any details.

This week Haaretz editor Dov Alfon confirmed that Blau is currently based in Britain. He told the Guardian: “Uri Blau is in London. He will be there until his editors decide otherwise. We are ready to continue to keep him in London as long as needed.

"Uri Blau published a lot of articles in Haaretz. All of them are dynamite stuff and it is clear, of course, that the authorities are not satisfied with these kind of revelations in a major newspaper."

Alfon added: "We understand this but we also understand Israel is still a democracy. Therefore we intend to continue to publish whatever public interest demands and our reporters can reveal."

Another Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Aharanoth, did its best to bypass the gagging order this week by republishing an article by former New York Times writer Judith Miller with sentences which contravened the media blackout literally blacked out. Haaretz and Israeli television Channel 10 are expected to challenge the ruling preventing publication of details of the Kam case.
Critics have claimed it is a form of censorship and inappropriate for the only democracy in the Middle East. On Tuesday Israeli Press Council president Dalia Dorner, a former Supreme Court judge, said the decision to prevent the local media writing about Kam and Blau should be challenged legally.

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