My latest article for Mint Press News, Gag Order Lifted On Case Of Pro-Palestine Activists Caught In Israeli Right-Wing Sting.
An Israeli police investigation spurred by charges from an Israeli settler NGO against three pro-Palestine activists, has collapsed. The three, who were arrested and charged with various counts of conspiracy to commit murder and contact with foreign agent, have all been released despite police protest.
Judges released Ezra Nawi, Guy Butavia, and Nasser Nawajah from over two weeks of imprisonment. The judges admonished the police when they failed to provide any new evidence to support their charges, and ordered all of the suspects freed. The police appealed and asked for an extension of the remand and the judges refused.
In a phone conversation, Nawaj’ah’s attorney, Gaby Lasky told me she asked the police whether the Palestinian land dealer whose life was supposedly endangered had filed a complaint for supposedly threatening his life. The policeman answered that the land dealer has not. In that case, there could be no charge of conspiracy to murder because the supposed victim had not even complained of his life being endangered.
The land dealer, whose name is “Mousa,” is a mysterious figure. According to Lasky, he supposedly hails from the Palestinian town of Yatta. When I inquired with my security source about his identity, the source refused to offer any further details. This indicates to me either Mousa is an Israeli informant for the police or security services or that his involvement with the case constituted fraud. Many Israeli activists believe Mousa was recruited to participate in this plot by Ad Kan or other settler elements, in order to ensnare Nawi in a trap.
If any readers have ideas on how to trace “Mousa” or identify him, please let me know.
Both Nawi and Butavia are under house arrest and may not have any contact with anyone. My attempt to interview Batavia failed because of these restrictions.
Haaretz revealed yesterday that several weeks before their arrest, Nawi and Batavia had filed suit against the Israeli police for harassment and false arrest. Their claim for $30,000 in damages involved an arrest of the two by the police during a drive on their way to a demonstration with Taayush in the West Bank. All of the charges against the two in that incident were dropped and no evidence was found of any wrongdoing.
In another incident, the judge found that the Israeli police and an IDF driver had collaborated in order to create a dangerous road condition, which forced Nawi to pass a slow-moving army jeep. Nawi was arrested for making a dangerous lane change, but when he appeared in court he was able to prove to the judge convincingly that the entire incident was staged in order to entrap him. The judge, in fact, lectured the police about the dangerous road condition they had created which could have gotten Nawi or another motorist hurt.
The only thing we have to be thankful for is that Israeli police don’t treat the Jews they wish to frame the way the FBI did the Black Panthers’ Fred Hampton in the 1960s, whom they simply executed in bed. Of course, the police and security forces do treat Palestinians in precisely this fashion. But Jews like Nawi and Butavia they treat somewhat better.
In this context, the smear campaign arranged by Ad Kan and furthered by Uvdah was very similar in execution to the traffic trap. It is clear Israeli police and the settler movement are intent on entrapping Ezra Nawi and destroying him. They must not succeed.
I hope that they will add the recent fraud of the settler police to their litany of abuses in their lawsuit. In addition to that $30,000 claim, they should add damages for false arrest, the abuse Butavia suffered in jail, and the damage to their reputation.
To the Annals of Bad Israeli Journalism let me add this Haaraetz headline: Israeli military court orders release of B’Tselem employee suspected in conspiracy to murder land dealer. Here is a basic lesson: when a judge throws out all claims that Nawajah endangered anyone in any way, he is no longer “suspected” of any offense. So if Haaretz wished to write the headline accurately, it should’ve said: “After Israeli military judge rejects all police charges against B’Tselem employee, settler police continue to baselessly maintain his guilt.” But why confuse things needlessly with accuracy or facts?