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I reported here and at Mint Press News about a sleazy settler conspiracy against the entire Israeli human rights NGO community. This isn’t a garden variety hit job, this is a Reichstag fire type production by a militant settler propaganda outfit attempting to destroy the credibility Israeli activists.
After a shady astroturf outfit, Ad Kan, infiltrated two spies into Ta’ayush, a South Hebron Hills support group for local Palestinian farmers, they created a hoax land deal which claimed (falsely) to sell the family land of a B’Tselem Palestinian activist, Nasser Nawaja’ah (here is a 972 article and NY Times op-ed he wrote). They lured Ezra Nawi, another Israeli activist into the net by urging him to report the illegal sale to the Palestinian Authority. They managed to capture him on tape claiming the land dealer would be arrested, tortured and executed by the Palestine Authority (this, despite the fact that the PA hasn’t executed anyone in a decade, let alone for selling land to settlers).
The spies were Yulia Tarantarova and Itzik Goldway. An Israeli reader of this blog knows something of the latter’s personal history and tells me that he is mentally unstable and has been in and out of institutions. The reader also reports that Uvdah knew this when it accepted him as its partner in this lurid project.
Ad Kan’s Aviram Zeevi, who appears to be the mastermind behind this project, was a senior official in the Internal Security Ministry until at least 2011. This ministry oversees the national police. It is no accident then, that Zeevi, using his police connections, has parlayed the Uvdah story into a series of criminal charges against first, Ezra Nawi, and now Guy Butavia and Nawaja’ah. Here is B’Tselem’s tweet supporting the latter:
This morning Israeli military forces came to South Hebron and arrested B’Tselem’s field worker, Nasser Nawaj’a. pic.twitter.com/HvnJCkqPTK
— B’Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) January 20, 2016
Haaretz reported today (though it couldn’t name him) that Butavia, a B’Tselem activist and filmmaker featured in the newsmagazine report, was arrested and charged as an “accomplice to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder, passing on information to a foreign agent, transporting a person without a legal entry permit into Israel, and use of drugs.” Butavia was also arrested by the same local West Bank police as he attempted to leave Israel from Ben Gurion Airport.
Think of the absurdity of this: two activists persecuted based on trumped-up charges. They attempt to leave Israel with no charges of any kind levelled against them. As they sit on the plane police run on board and grab them up. After apprehending the dangerous criminals, they attempt to devise charges to justify the arrest. And the judicial system, which always cooperates with its pals in the police, permit this farce by extending the detention of the suspects. Despite there being no crime, nor evidence of a crime.
Butavia’s case, along with Nawi’s and Nawaj’aah’s are under a security gag order and neither of their names may not be reported by Israeli media. Please sign this Jewish Voice for Peace petition demanding Nawi’s freedom. Below is Butavia’s short video documenting the grassroots activism of Ta’ayush:
The notion that someone can be arrested for murder which is based on a hoax is preposterous. The land dealer allegedly selling the land was not a land dealer. He would never have been arrested by anyone, except if police could arrest someone for impersonating a land dealer. That means there was no crime. Not only was the original conspiracy a hoax, the claims of the police are entirely fraudulent.
My Israeli security source tells me: “Nawi is being interrogated not by Shabak but by [local West Bank Israeli] police, and this means that Shabak itself doesn’t take too seriously the ‘security charges’ against him.”
My source also described the local West Bank Israeli police as “incompetent.”
So it appears what’s happening is that a cabal of settlers and their enablers within the police have concocted a conspiracy to bring down human rights NGOs. Though this is a freelance operation by Ad Kan and its settler network, surely Israel’s leadership, including the prime minister, are relishing this with glee. Bibi will permit the charade to go along as far as he can. The only thing that may stop the proceedings is outside parties calling a stop to it.
This case represents Israel’s collapse into not just farce, but totalitarian farce. The country isn’t run by leaders but by a bunch of Keystone Kops in kippot and peot (“sidecurls”). How can such a nation long endure? The stench of ridicule is almost unbearable.
Episodes like this only strengthen the case against Israel being made throughout the world. Now, when the EU tightens sanctions against Israel, it only has to point to pathology like this to support its reasoning. When pro-Palestine activists file suit against the U.S. Treasury to recapture the billions donated tax-free by American Jews to illegal settlements, they only have to point out this insanity to bolster their case.
Though I yearn for Israel’s transformation into a truly democratic state of all its citizens, and nuttiness like this draws this day closer; it’s still painful to watch as courageous activists like Nawi, Butavia and Nawaj’aah have to pay the price.
All I can say for Israel is the ultimate insult: Busha v’cherpah (“Shame”).