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An Arab member of the Israeli parliament is demanding that a newspaper be allowed to publish an investigative report that was suppressed days before Israel attacked Gaza in winter 2008.
The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.
In a highly unusual move, according to reports in the Israeli media, the army ordered the Haaretz newspaper to destroy all copies of an edition that included Mr Blau’s investigation after it had already gone to press and been passed by the military censor. The article was never republished.
A petition calling on the Shin Bet to end its threat to charge Mr Blau with espionage has attracted the signatures of several prominent journalists in Israel.
“We believe the Blau case is unique and are concerned this unique case will create a dangerous precedent,” their letter states. “Until now, prosecution authorities have not sought to try reporters for the offence of holding classified information, an offence most of us are guilty of in one way or another.”
A group of Israeli human rights organisations is due to submit a letter this week to the government demanding that the investigation concentrate on lawbreaking by the army rather the “character assassination” of Mr Blau and his sources.