WikiLeaks to Release Thousands of Cables About Israel

WikiLeaks plans to publish thousands of documents dealing with sensitive Israeli security issues in the coming months, the website's founder, Julian Assange, said in an interview with Al Jazeera yesterday.

Assange said the 260,000 American diplomatic cables the site has acquired include about 3,700 related to Israel. Of these, about 2,700 originated from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

So far, the media outlets with which Assange shared the cables have published only about 2 percent of those related to Israel, he said. But he promised that many more would be published over the next six months.

The Israel-related cables released to date have dealt mainly with assessments made by senior Israeli officials in meetings with American officials on subjects such as Iran's nuclear program, the leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the capabilities and intentions of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

But Assange said the new documents he plans to publish relate mainly to two topics that are more sensitive from Israel's perspective: the Second Lebanon War of 2006, and the assassination of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last year, including the assassins' use of forged passports from several Western countries.

Both the assassination and the forged passports have been widely attributed to the Mossad, including by the Dubai police, and some Western countries expelled Israeli diplomats as a result. But Israel has never officially acknowledged responsibility.

Assange said there are also documents relating to the overseas activities of Israeli defense firms, and perhaps on Syrian suspicions of Mossad involvement in the assassination of senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in 2008.

There are some 2,500 cables relating to the Mossad altogether, he said, but he has only read about 1,000 of them.

Assange also used the interview to deny the claims that have been made, especially in the Arab media, of prior coordination between Jerusalem and WikiLeaks to avoid publication of any documents that might embarrass Israel.

Instead, he claimed that the lack of any embarrassing revelations about Israel thus far stemmed from self-censorship by Western media due to "the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel" and "sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the U.S."