Washington Post executive editor steps down in major restructuring

Report: Israeli journalist threatened by intelligence chief over investigation into International Criminal Court intimidation

LONDON: An Israeli journalist has claimed he was threatened by senior security officials in an attempt to get him to drop his investigation into allegations that the Mossad intimidated a former International Criminal Court prosecutor.

Haaretz investigative journalist Gur Megiddo claimed in an article published on Thursday that Mossad officials had tried to suppress any reporting on the matter several years ago through intimidation tactics.

This comes in the wake of a report by the Guardian earlier this week that former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen had attempted to intimidate then-International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Cohen had allegedly tried to stop Bensouda from investigating Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

That investigation, launched in 2021, culminated last week in the announcement by Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan, that he was seeking an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the country’s conduct in the Gaza war.

“In early 2022, I attempted to contact the former prosecutor through a third party who knew her,” Megiddo wrote.

“Bensouda never responded to the advances, but a few days after the attempt, when I was about to publish the story, my phone rang and on the other end of the line was the voice of a senior security official. ‘Can you come to see me tomorrow?’ he asked.”

The journalist claimed that during the meeting with two officials he was told to drop the lawsuit or face the “consequences” of his actions.

“It was a polite conversation, a polite threat,” Megiddo wrote. “The tone was calm, the content much less so. I was told that if I published the story, I would face the consequences and get to know the Israeli security authorities’ interrogation rooms from the inside.”

“In the end, it was made clear to me that even if I shared the information ‘with my friends abroad’, that is, through foreign media, it would lead to the same results,” he added.

Megiddo’s revelations appear to confirm the Guardian’s report, which was part of a wider investigation conducted by the newspaper, along with Israeli-based magazines +972 and Local Call, into Israel’s use of its intelligence services to allegedly surveil, hack, pressure, defame and threaten senior ICC officials in order to obstruct its investigations into Palestine.

He stated that after the meeting he “took the threats very seriously” and decided to publish an edited version of the story he was working on, reporting only on Cohen’s travels to the Congo.

He left out the part about the CIA’s efforts to persuade Congolese President Joseph Kabila to assist in efforts to pressure Bensouda and disrupt negotiations in The Hague.

The revelations come against a backdrop of declining press freedom in Israel. +972 magazine and the Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel reported that military censorship banned the publication of 613 articles in 2023 – a record number since +972 began collecting data in 2011.

In early May, authorities closed the offices of Qatari media outlet Al Jazeera after passing a highly controversial law giving Israel the power to temporarily shut down foreign media outlets if they are deemed a security threat.

Last week, Associated Press equipment was briefly seized, requiring U.S. government intervention.

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL