>> It's been 50 years since Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank. But now, a treasure trove of once secret cables, letters, and memos has been put online and showing how decisions made back then still haunt policy makers. The material from the country's national archive digitized by Israeli NGO, Akevot.
It shows how Israel was torn over how to handle the seizure of land, and the more than half a million Palestinians living there. What to call the West Bank and had to avoid the word occupied. Should Israel avoid building settlements in the area, and is a Palestinian state a good idea?
These were the questions raised by Israeli officials in the days after the so called six day war and never really answered. Reuters Jeffrey Heller has been looking at the documents in Jerusalem.>> For example, one document analyzes in detail the idea of an independent Palestinian state while also presenting the case for annexing the West Bank to Israel
>> There's talk of a graduated solution mirroring present day proposals to create a Palestinian state once there's a peace agreement between Israel and Arab nations. Israeli legal experts also looked at the issue of building settlements on captured land. In one secret memo, an Israeli jurist to spell out his concern that settlement construction would draw international opposition because it could be seen as contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention, the bands that transfer citizens of an occupying state onto occupied land.
>> 50 years on 350,000 Israeli settlers called the West Bank home. But most of the world views their settlements as illegal. Meanwhile, the government still refuses to talk about occupation. It prefers the term disputed territory. And the Palestinian state remains as distant to prospect as ever. Now, access to files from the period has been restricted while the start archives undergo official digitization.
Akevot hopes its private project will keep as much as possible in the public realm.