Far-left activist Ezra Nawi is to be tried for security crimes, prosecutors announced Thursday. Nawi has been accused of informing Palestinian Authority officials of a number of PA land sales to Jews. Based on that information, the PA arrested the sellers and jailed and tortured them, leading to at least one death, prosecutors said.
The prosecutors will pursue cases against Nawi based on evidence that was uncovered in investigations by security officials.
Other evidence gathered by right-wing group Ad Kan, which includes footage of Nawi bragging that his information led to the death by torture of an Arab who sold land to Jews, will not be pursued, after Nawi’s attorneys claimed that the information on Nawi’s role in that matter had been obtained illegally.
In the footage, Nawi, who is a senior member of the radical leftist group Ta’ayush, is seen bragging that he “had a hand” in turning in an Arab landowner in the south Chevron Hills region. The Arab was arrested and eventually died after being tortured for the “crime” of selling land to a Jew, which in the PA carries a death penalty.
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 before his arrest. In footage and recordings gathered by Ad Kan activists who infiltrated Ta’ayush and B’Tselem, another leftist group, Nawi and his B’Ttselem 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.”
Nawi was arrested in January 2016 as he tried to leave the country, and Army Radio said that police at the time recommended that he be tried for a number of security crimes, including cooperating with foreign terrorists. Last year, an official document of the PA police regarding the death of the land seller surfaced, constituting a smoking gun” which directly links Nawi to the death of the Arab landowner at the hands of PA police, who was tortured because he sold land to Jews, Ad Kan said. It is not clear if the document will be used in the prosecution of the cases against Nawi.
In a statement, Ad Kan said that “two and a half years after Ad Kan proved that radical leftists from Ta’ayush, B’Tselem, and Rabbis for Human Rights – groups that call themselves ‘humanitarian’ – sent Palestinians to their deaths for selling land to Jews, and after a lengthy legal battle, the state has finally decided to indict Ezra Nawi. We hope that justice will be done, and swiftly, without the extensive delays we have seen until now.
“With that, according to reports, Nawi will not be tried in several major aspects of the cases against him,” the group said. “Failure to prosecute him for his role in the death of Arab landowners would constitute acceptance by the state that indeed, the ‘punishment’ Arabs who sell land to Jews deserve is indeed death. We call on elected officials, the justice system, and the public to act in order to ensure that true justice is done in the case of Nawi and his colleagues.”