A left-wing activist who was arrested the weekend before last at Ben Gurion Airport has turned out to be none other than Ezra Nawi, the head of the radical left group Ta’ayush, who was apparently planning to flee the country. Nawi has been implicated in assisting the Palestinian Authority to arrest, torture and kill Arabs in the south Chevron Hills region for the “crime” of selling land to Jews.
Nawi’s role in the ongoing PA campaign against “traitors” who sell land to Jews was highlighted in a documentary that was aired in Israel several weeks ago. In footage and recordings gathered by right-wing activists who infiltrated Ta’ayush and B’Tselem, another leftist group, Nawi and his B’Tselem colleague Nasser Nawaje are seen bragging one to another about how many Palestinian land-sellers they informed on to the PA. When the activists asked what their fate was, the two answered that “the PA takes care of them… they kill them.”
Under PA law, selling land to Jews is a crime punishable by death. According to the Channel Two documentary, a number of the land-sellers whom Nawi and Nawaje told the PA about turned up dead. Nawaje is a resident of Chevron, in an area controlled by the PA. Nawi, however, is an Israeli citizen.
In the wake of the broadcast, dozens of MKs, ministers, and ordinary Israelis called for an immediate criminal investigation into the groups for their support of the PA’s murderous policies, and as, if not murderers themselves, accessories to murder. In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the documentary “exposes the true face of the radicals, whose hatred of settlers has driven them to hand over innocent people for torture and certain death. The investigation once again highlights the cruel way the PA tortures and murders Palestinians whose only ‘crime’ is to sell land to Jews. These terrible actions require a full condemnation of all Israelis. Those who aid and abet murder cannot hide behind the mask of defending the ‘human rights’ of anyone,” Netanyahu added.
Speaking in an interview after the broadcast, Nawi said that he had done nothing wrong, and was complying with the rule of law in the PA, which Israel was aware of and has done nothing to attempt to influence over the past two decades.
Several MKs filed a complaint with the police, which opened an investigation. Some ten days ago, almost immediately after the airing of the program, Nawi purchased tickets and attempted to pass through security for an outbound flight – but instead was arrested and detained, along with two companions, as a material witness in an ongoing investigation. His remand has been extended until Sunday. Speaking outside the Yerushalayim courthouse where a hearing into his detention was held Thursday, his attorney, left-wing activist Leah Semel, called Nawi’s arrest and detention “an act of political persecution.”