Israeli Leftist Taped Trying to Set Up Palestinians Who Seek to Sell Land to Jews

In footage obtained by Channel 2, Ezra Nawi is heard telling of giving details of land brokers to Palestinian security agents; 'The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them,' he says.

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Ezra Nawi.
Social activist Ezra Nawi, Jerusalem Magistrate Court, October 10, 2009.Credit: Emil Salman

Footage aired on Channel 2 on Thursday shows a prominent Israeli leftist activist describing how his actions led to the deaths of Palestinians who sought to sell West Bank land to Jews.

The activist, Ezra Nawi, of the Israeli-Palestinian Taayush group, was secretly recorded saying that he had turned in the land brokers to Palestinian security services, who then killed them.

The report by the program Uvda looked into left-wing groups which operate in the West Bank. The footage was obtained by right-wing activists who infiltrated these groups in an attempt to discredit them.

The footage of Nawi was captured by a right-wing activist who reportedly became his close acquaintance. In the footage, Nawi, who is unaware of being recorded, is heard telling of four Palestinian landowners who contacted him, thinking he was also involved in the land trade.

"I give their photos and their phone numbers immediately to the [Palestinian] Preventive Security Force," Nawi says in the recording. "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." The Palestinian, Nawi says, let the settlers till his uncles' lands in return for farming other lands. Nawi goes on to say that he handed the Palestinian's name over to the Palestinian security services, and that the Palestinian later "suffered a stroke."

The investigative report also shows Nawi and a Palestinian member of B'Tselem plotting to meet a Palestinian land broker with the alleged intent of turning him in to the Palestinian security services. In footage documenting the meeting with the land owner, Nawi says he is interested in buying lands near the settlements. Nawi collects documents from the land broker and tries to schedule another meeting, allegedly with the intent of notifying Palestinian agents and setting up an ambush.

In the recorded conversation, the Palestinian land broker warns Nawi that any work on the lands can only start three years after the deal is made, to conceal the transaction from the Palestinian Authority. Nawi is later heard saying that he "feels like crap" about the alleged deception, but continues to act against the broker.

Responding to the report, Nawi denied entrapping the broker. "The opposite is true. He came to me and presented himself as a land broker. Since I assumed he was sent to frame me and tarnish my name in the Palestinian community, I had no choice but to report the incident to the Palestinian Authority, lest I be deemed a land buyer. I regret that the report is part of the effort to sabotage my activities, and the activities of my friends alongside the Palestinians."

Nawi, 63, was born in Jerusalem to a family of Jewish Iraqi immigrants. In 2009, Nawi was sentenced to a month in prison by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court after he was convicted of assaulting police officers in the southern Hebron Hills in 2007. He was also given six months on probation, a 750-shekel fine, and was required to pay 500 shekels in compensation to each officer he assaulted.

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