August 01, 2010

Israel questions its right to exist

This is interesting. Ha'aretz reports that Israel is keeping documents under wraps that have already been hidden for 50 years.
The material was not accessible to the public previously, and the new regulations merely put a retroactive stamp of legality on the closure of the archives, which until now was sealed illegally. The state archivist warned that some of the classified materials "has implications over [Israel's] adherence to international law."

His words suggest that the state will be seen as an outlaw if the past deeds of the security and intelligence services are made public. But his explanations are not reasonable. Israel, which this year celebrated its 62nd birthday, can and must confront the less than heroic chapters in its past and reveal them to the public and for historical study. The public has a right to know about the decisions made by the state's founders, even if they involved violations of human rights, covering up crimes or harassing political opponents by security means. The country is mature and strong enough to absorb the criticism that could arise if, for example, previously unpublished testimonies are discovered about the events at Deir Yassin.

This is easy for Ha'aretz to say but we're just getting through the queazy feeling Israel gave its allies over the flotilla. Do they really want the wider world to see an Israeli imprimatur on the truth of its questionable legality?

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