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Military Censor Accused of Backing Release of Terrorists

An Israeli TV journalist has charged that the military censor’s gag rule serves her own interests, which he says it to free terrorists for Shalit.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/23/2009, 1:16 PM / Last Update: 11/23/2009, 1:43 PM

Israel news photo

An Israeli journalist has charged that the military censor, Sima Vaknin-Gil, is placing a gag order on statements concerning the proposal to free murderers for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit even though many would-be declarations do not endanger the security of the country.

Channel 10 reporter Raviv Druker wrote in his blog, “I have no idea when a deal for Shalit will reach the Cabinet, but I am prepared to guess how the censor would vote if she could – ‘for’ and in a big way.”

“She is entitled personally to support whatever she wants, but as the military censor, she cannot act in order to advance or ruin the chances of a deal,” the journalist wrote.

“The job of the censor is to stop publicity that has a possibility of damaging national security and is not to prevent publishing what she thinks will harm the proposed deal. She places a gag order on many issues concerning Shalit that have nothing to do with security and leaves the public exposed to information that is almost entirely based on Arab media,” he added.

The current situation serves the interests of those who favor releasing terrorists, including those involved in murdering Jews, for Shalit, according to Druker. Vaknin-Gil categorically rejected the accusations.

Hamas media reported Monday afternoon that the deal is clinched except for the name of one terrorist that Israel does not want to release. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar is scheduled to travel to Egypt for more talks, but spokesmen for the terrorist organization said it is not certain he will travel on Monday.

Previous rumors of an imminent agreement to free Shalit either never panned out or were ditched at the last moment by the refusal of either Israel or Hamas to concur on last-minute details.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought a proposal to the Cabinet shortly before his government ended, but Cabinet ministers accepted the advice of military and security officials and nixed the deal.