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Yehudit Karp, former deputy attorney general, last week appeared in court to support a left-wing activist who had been convicted of attacking policemen.

Karp, who in 1984 wrote a report on the lack of law enforcement on settlers in the territories, accused the state of deliberately conspiring against Ezra Nawi, whom she called "Robin Hood." Testifying in a petition against Nawi's conviction, Karp asked the court not to send him to prison.

Nawi was convicted in March for assaulting policemen during the demolition of illegal Palestinian caravans in the southern Hebron Hills. Nawi, who has prior convictions for sexually assaulting a minor, illegal use of weapons and drug offenses, has been active for Palestinian rights in the southern Hebron Hills in recent years.

Since Nawi's conviction, Professor Noam Chomsky, author Naomi Klein and Dr. Neve Gordon have been conducting an international campaign to prevent his imprisonment.

Karp was presented in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court last week as the one "who wrote the leading report on the failure to enforce the law on the settlers."

She said the Palestinians' life in the southern Hebron Hills "is surreal - they have no water, no power supply, they are subject to constant harassment by settlers and are also up against a government that wishes to expel them."

"Where there is no law and no one to turn to, Ezra is seen as a law breaker, while the state itself breaks the law and fails to uphold its basic obligations. Ezra is the savior of these people. He blocks with his body settlers who stop the farmers from working on their land. You could call him Robin Hood of the Wild West," she said.

Karp told the court that Nawi is a victim of harassment from the authorities, and although he was convicted of an infraction, he was not a law breaker.