IDF: Uri Blau's Allegations of Army Misconduct 'Outrageous'

Haaretz article suggesting IDF conducted illegal assassinations was allegedly informed by documents stolen by ex-soldier Anat Kam.

Allegations put forth in a 2008 Haaretz article, alleging that Israel Defense Forces conduct in the West Bank was in breach of High Court rulings, are misinformed and misleading, the IDF Spokesman's office said Sunday.

The IDF statement was referring to a story written by Haaretz writer Uri Blau, who recently became embroiled in an indictment of an ex-soldier Anat Kam who stands accused of stealing classified military documents and leaking them to Haaretz..

Among the materials Kam allegedly transferred to Blau were files suggesting that high-ranking IDF officers had approved targeted assassinations of wanted Palestinians in cases where detaining them would have been possible - authorization that violates a High Court ruling against killing suspects when arrests can be made.

The material gathered in these documents allegedly formed the basis for an article Blau published in the Haaretz Magazine in November 2008.

In the statement released Sunday, the IDF spokesman's office said the allegations specified in Blau's report were "outrageous and misleading," saying the piece was based on a partial understating of the situation and a misunderstanding of the limitations set by the High Court."

The IDF bolstered its rejection of Blau's allegations with the ruling of former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz who responded to an appeal to criminally investigate IDF officials by saying that he found "no basis to the claim that IDF forces acted illegally or in violation of the High Court ruling."

Earlier Sunday, Haaretz learned that Kam's defense attorney already began negotiating with the prosecution for a plea bargain after the state has decided to prosecute Kam for the most serious crimes of espionage: passing on classified information with the intent of harming state security. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Kam faces other charges, including gathering and possessing classified materials with intent to harm state security, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

Israel's criminal code contains a number of other statutes that Kam could have been charged with violating for her alleged actions, that carry significantly less harsh punishments than the ones she has been charged with.