Gag order on Israel's Kafr Qasim massacre of 49 Palestinians ends

Gag order on Israel's Kafr Qasim massacre of 49 Palestinians ends
Details of the trial for the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre will come to light after a long fight from Palestinian campaigners.
2 min read
31 May, 2022
Palestinians have staged counter-protests to far-right Israeli rallies in the village [Getty]

A gag order on Israel's massacre of at least 47 Palestinians in the village of Kafr Qasim ended on Monday, following a years-long battle by historians to make the information public.

An Israeli court in March said classified documents detailing the 1956 massacre could be released, but issued a gag order on the verdict until Monday, leading to an outcry.

One former Israeli state archivist told Haaretz earlier this month that "the degree of imbecility of this decision is so great, that no further comment is needed".

The sealed protocols relate to the trial of the perpetrators involved in the killings and can now be made public.

The 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre took place as Israel's invasion of the Suez began. As many as 49 Palestinian civilians - including women and children - were gunned down in cold blood by Israeli forces for unknowingly breaking a military curfew.

Images of the massacre will not be made public, according to Haaretz.

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Also redacted is information on an Israeli plan to deport 1948 Palestinians to Jordan. Other documents will also not be released.

Adam Raz of the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research had campaigned for the release of the court documents, which was opposed by the military.

The prosecution had argued that releasing the documents would harm national security and foreign relations but withdrew its objections in December 2021, paving the way for their release.

Raz slammed the delay. "What exactly happened over the last few years that now, national security won’t be harmed by releasing the material?" he said, according to Haaretz.

"What happened in our foreign policy that now it’s permissible but a few years ago it wasn’t? Obviously, nothing happened."

The massacre saw Israeli Border Police shoot dead around 49 Palestinians including 23 children aged between eight and 17.

A bill to have the government officially recognise the massacre was rejected by Knesset in 2021.