Israeli whistleblower: Over four years behind bars

A former Israeli soldier who admitted to relaying classified military documents to a journalist has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.

­Anat Kamm claimed she was ideologically motivated to copy more than 2,000 military documents between 2005 and 2007, when she served as a junior clerk in the office of the general who oversaw policy in the West Bank.

After her discharge, she passed the documents to a journalist for the Israeli daily Haaretz. The documents included operational plans, personnel and target lists, and revealed details about military officials approving the assassination of Palestinians in the West Bank. Haaretz confirmed that at least 700 of the documents were classified.

During that time, Israeli troops frequently carried out arrest operations in the West Bank and often clashed in gun battles with militants. In February, Kamm signed a plea bargain agreement admitting to an espionage charge. She faced a maximum sentence of 15 years.

“In this case, the whistleblower blew a loud and disturbing whistle,” said Sari Bashi, head of a Tel Aviv-based legal center Gisha. “The military is violating international law and the directories of the Israeli Supreme Court in carrying out assassinations against people whom they are required to try to make an arrest. The state attorney's office prosecuted the soldier, but failed to seriously investigate the conduct revealed in those documents, which raises serious questions about the rule of law.”

“I wish the Israeli justice systems spent less time and resources investigating leaks of documents, and more resources looking into the contents of those documents,” Bashi concluded.

Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the state attorney’s office ‘persecuted’ the soldier. In fact, our guest says the soldier was ‘prosecuted’ – as we now state.