Israel Police Seek Indictment Against 2 Left-wing Activists for Offenses Related to West Bank Land Transactions

Suggestion comes after inquest raised suspicions of involvement of Ezra Nawi and Guy Butavia in conspiracy and other offenses.

Ezra Nawi, a member of the Israeli-Palestinian political group Ta'ayush, being taken to a Jerusalem court in January, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Israel Police have recommended the filing of indictments against left-wing activists Ezra Nawi and Guy Butavia for conspiracy and contact with a foreign agent. The recommendation, announced on Sunday, followed a police investigation and their case has now been transferred to the State Prosecutor’s Office.

Nawi and Butavia were both arrested in January after the Channel 2 television investigative program "Fact" broadcast a video of Nawi, who belongs to the Israeli-Palestinian Ta'ayush political activist group, saying he had turned in Palestinian land brokers, who had sold property to Jews, to the Palestinian security services, who would then kill the brokers. 

The footage was secretly obtained by members of the right-wing Ad Kan organization, who try to infiltrate left-wing groups in an attempt to discredit them.

Nawi was initially investigated on suspicion of being an accessory to murder and possible conspiracy to murder. Nasser Nawaja, a field researcher for the B’Tselem human rights organization from the southern Hebron Hills region, was also arrested two months ago as part of the case, under similar suspicions. He has not yet been informed if the investigation against him has been completed.

Nawi had been detained for two weeks and Butavia for one week after being arrested; after their release on bail they were forbidden to enter the West Bank and to continue their activity.

The footage of Nawi was taken by an Ad Kan activist who reportedly became his close acquaintance. Nawi, unaware of being recorded, is heard talking to four Palestinian landowners who contacted him, thinking he was involved in the property transactions.

“I give their photos and their phone numbers immediately to the [Palestinian] Preventive Security Force,” Nawi is heard saying. “The authority catches them and kills them. But before they kill them, they beat them up.”

In another recording, Nawi is heard talking about a Palestinian who “made deals with the settlers.” That Palestinian, Nawi says, let settlers cultivate his uncle’s lands in return for farming other lands. Nawi goes on to say that he passed on the Palestinian’s name to Palestinian security services, and that the man later “suffered a stroke.”