Diskin: Media didn't help (Archives)
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Noam Rotem
Shalit: Captive since 2006 (Archives)
Photo: Noam Rotem

Shin Bet chief: Media hindered Shalit deal

Hamas refused to release captive soldier in part due to media reports, Diskin says

The Israeli media hindered the efforts to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit during the 2009 negotiations with Hamas, according to Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin.


"Hamas did not want to close the deal because they knew they could raise the price," he said in a speech Wednesday. "They listened to the media in Israel."


Diskin, who was sent to Egypt in March 2009 to negotiate Shalit's release by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, claimed that while he could not definitively say that the deal would have been finalized had the media kept quiet, "it certainly did not help our side."


Diskin spoke during an event that was held in memory of late newspaper editor Dov Yudkovsky at the Israeli Journalists' Association headquarters in Tel Aviv. In his speech he also addressed the affair involving Anat Kam, a former IDF soldier accused of spying and leaking confidential military information.


"When we discovered that there is a leak, we suspected that this was just the tip of the iceberg, and in retrospect we weren't wrong," he said.


'Technology creates new challenges'

According to Diskin, 2,085 documents were leaked, among them defense and takeover strategies, as well as documents about targeted terrorist assassinations. Kam leaked the documents to Haaretz Journalist Uri Blau, who used them for a series of features about said assassinations.


Diskin noted that he read Blau's articles and considered them important, but explained that common sense must be applied while using classified information. He identified journalism and the media as tools "no less important for the protection of a democratic state than the intelligence and defense establishments."


"Releasing a classified document is problematic," he said. "This was one of the only times I've seen so many confidential documents leaked."


He also noted that Blau kept multiple copies of the leaked papers, and that he was treated lightly because he was a journalist. Had he been a regular citizen, his punishment would have been swifter and more severe.


Diskin addressed the WikiLeaks document release, saying that "the use of new technological tools affects us as well, and creates new challenges."



פרסום ראשון: 02.03.11, 00:25
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