Posted by: Lister | January 8, 2008

Hiding The Truth

Citing security, [Israel] refuses to release data on settlements:

The government is refusing to publish a database containing full details about the settlement enterprise in the territories, including outposts and neighborhoods built across the Green Line. In response to a High Court of Justice petition on the matter, the Defense Ministry is arguing that publication would harm state security and Israel’s foreign relations.

In October 2006, Haaretz revealed the existence of the Spiegel Report – the largest database ever compiled by the state on the settlements, by then special adviser to the defense minister Brigadier General Baruch Spiegel. The report, whose preparation was kept secret, revealed that extensive building was carried out without permits on dozens of veteran settlements – not just outposts – often on privately owned Palestinian land. Spiegel’s data came from the Civil Administration and other government agencies, as well as from photographic sorties carried out by civilian aircraft leased by the military establishment.

The data collection began after Spiegel and other Defense Ministry officials realized that the state’s figures on the settlements were incomplete. It became clear that often the state’s own information was incomplete in comparison with the data presented by the U.S. administration or gathered by Peace Now’s monitoring staff.

[…] In the wake of reports about the database, the Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel and Peace Now petitioned the district administrative court in Tel Aviv, demanding that the database be released for publication in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law.

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