Israel is concealing vital records to prevent darkest periods in its history from coming to light, academics say.
Jerusalem – Israel is locking away millions of official documents to prevent the darkest episodes in its history from coming to light, civil rights activists and academics have warned as the country’s state archives move online.
They claim government officials are concealing vital records needed for historical research, often in violation of Israeli law, in an effort to avoid damaging Israel’s image.
The Israeli army has long claimed to be the “most moral” in the world.
Accusations of increased secrecy come as Israel marks this week the 49th anniversary of the 1967 war, when it seized and occupied Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights.
Many of the records to which access is being denied refer to that war and the first years of Israel’s military rule over Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
Menachem Klein, a politics professor at Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, said researchers needed such documents to gain a clearer picture of events half a century ago, the goals of policymakers, and human rights abuses. “We have gradually been able to expose some of what happened in 1948 [the war that established Israel], but there is still very little available to help us understand the 1967 war,” he told Al-Jazeera…