Police, Soldier to Be Charged for Entrapping Left-wing Israeli Activist

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Ezra Nawi outside the Jerusalem District Court.
Ezra Nawi outside the Jerusalem District Court.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

A policeman and a reserve IDF officer are expected to be indicted for entrapment, after inducing well-known peace activist Ezra Nawi to commit a traffic offense and giving him a ticket three years ago.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department (PID) is due to submit the charges against the two subject to a hearing, the State Prosecutor’s Office told the court this week.

The policeman and the reserve officer drove in a dangerous way to force Nawi to overtake them, then gave him a traffic ticket, the indictment says. Nawi has since been acquitted and the ticket canceled.

Left-wing activist Ezra Nawi, who was recorded secretly by right-wingers saying his actions led the Palestinian Authority to execute a Palestinian who sold land to Jews, in Jerusalem, 2010.Credit: Emil Salman

The incident took place in March 2013, when Nawi was driving from Jerusalem to the south of Hebron in the West Bank, as part of his activity for Ta’ayush, an anti-occupation organization of Palestinians and Israelis. A military jeep that had lain in wait for him got onto the road ahead of Nawi and deliberately drove slowly.

Every time Nawi tried to overtake the jeep, it speeded up to prevent it. At one point Nawi overtook the jeep, crossing a continuous separation line. The jeep then ordered Nawi to stop and policeman Avraham Buadana got out and gave Nawi a traffic ticket.

Nawi appealed the ticket and told the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that he had been harassed for political reasons. The officer in the jeep, Major (res.) Shalom Shevah, who testified at the trial, refused to reply when asked if the incident was an entrapment, saying, “I don’t want to incriminate myself.”

Judge Miriam Kaslassy acquitted Nawi and said Buadana’s testimony was “tainted with lack of objectivity and with personal involvement.” She said the policeman’s report of the incident was inaccurate and unprofessional.

“Clearly this was not a random enforcement following a traffic offense observed by a traffic policeman, but something beyond that,” Kaslassy ruled. “The military jeep’s driver had a considerable part in the offense. Even if the [police] are allowed to enforce the law more strictly on someone they choose the suspect must still have committed the offense of his own initiative and not have been induced to commit it. Had not the road been empty of traffic, the jeep driver’s conduct would have endangered not only its passengers but other drivers as well,” she wrote.

Following the acquittal, Nawi sued Shevah and Buadana. The prosecution agreed to defend only Shevah, not Buadana. The latter said he was bankrupt and therefore a civil suit could not be brought against him.

The prosecution then passed the case to the Police Investigation Department and on Tuesday told the court that the department decided to indict the two, subjected to a hearing.

In January, Nawi was secretly recorded by right-wing activists describing how his actions led to the deaths of Palestinians who sought to sell West Bank land to Jews. His assertion, which has not been substantiated, was aired on Channel 2’s Uvda program.  The footage was obtained by right-wing activists who infiltrated the Ta’ayush group in an attempt to discredit it.

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