Israel continues to sell arms to the world’s most oppressive regimes, but the courts won’t let the media cover the story.
By Itamar Baz
An Israeli court imposed a media blackout on hearings held in September regarding a state sale of weapons to the Philippine regime. The petitioners to halt the sale argued that Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president, was credibly accused of having committed mass atrocities, as well as grave violations of human rights and of international law.
While a significant portion of the evidence supporting the petition against the sale was already in the public domain, Judge Gilia Ravid of the Tel Aviv District Court ruled in favor of the state’s request to exclude media coverage. Her decision was based partly on the standard concerns regarding state security and foreign policy, but more significantly, the judge accepted the state’s argument that because they were precluded from presenting evidence derived from classified material, the media would only cover the arguments presented by the plaintiff, which would result in the public receiving a distorted version of the case.
Attorney Eitay Mack submitted and argued for the petition, which was signed by 56 Israeli human rights activists. Named on the petition are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, and the Director of Security Exports at the Ministry of Defense.
“The current president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is a mass murderer who condones rape, shooting women in the gentials, and blowing up schools for indigenous minorities,” wrote the petitioners. “Since Duterte took office in June 2016, after campaigning on ‘the war against drugs,’ Philippine police have executed approximately 12,000 people, according to a January 2018 report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW). Most of the executions are carried out by masked special forces officers who enter slum neighborhoods, arrest men and boys, and shoot them on the spot.” HRW reports that the number of executions has continued to rise since it published its report last year.Read More