An Israeli activist was indicted yesterday for passing information to Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces regarding Palestinian land sales to Jews.
Ezra Nawi, an Israeli activist working with left-wing organisation Ta’ayush, has been charged under section 7a (b) of the Implementation of the Oslo Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Agreement prohibits Israeli citizens from joining or acting in the service of the PA’s intelligence and security forces. This is the first time that an Israeli citizen has been charged with this offence without actually joining the PA, Ynet reported.
Nawi is accused of handing information to the PA regarding land sales made by Palestinian dealers to illegal Jewish settlers in the south Hebron hills, in the south of the occupied West Bank. The sale of land to Israelis is punishable by death under the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)’s 1979 Revolutionary Penal Code. More recently, land dealers have been handed sentences of lifelong hard labour if convicted of such a crime, according to the Times of Israel.
Nawi’s alleged activities were exposed by right-wing organisation Ad Kan, a group composed of IDF veterans who deliberately infiltrate human rights organisations in order to report on their actions. Ad Kan objected to the indictment, demanding instead that Nawi be tried for “offenses of contact with a foreign agent and accessory to murder,” according to Arutz Sheva.
Investigations into Nawi’s activities have been ongoing since 2016. According to +972 Magazine, Nawi was arrested at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport while trying to leave the country and was subsequently denied access to a lawyer, placed under gag order and eventually released to house arrest. At that time, accusations against Nawi ranged from accessory to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder and making contact with a foreign agent. None of these charges have been included in the indictment issued on Sunday.
+972 Magazine has interpreted Israel’s indictment of Nawi as a selective application of the Oslo agreement in a bid to target left-wing activists. In recent years, Israel has cracked down on organisations critical of the state’s human rights abuses and occupation of the Palestinian territories, including anyone affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In January, Israel published a “blacklist” of 22 international NGOs “whose employees and/or members are banned from entering Israel due to their alleged support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” In May 2017, Israel introduced a law forbidding entry visas or residency rights to foreign nationals who call for a boycott of Israel or illegal Israeli settlements.