The fabrication of criminal cases against activists, particularly anti-occupation activists, has become an almost routine tool. Every one of us could find themselves the target of a similar right-wing campaign.
Two years ago, Israeli officials, right-wing activists, and the media put veteran left-wing activist Ezra Nawi in their crosshairs. After an investigative television show partnered with an extreme right-wing organization to target Nawi with a hidden-camera hit piece, Nawi was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport while trying to leave the country. Photos of him being led in handcuffs were published on the front page of every major publication.
He was denied access to a lawyer, a sweeping gag order was issued, and eventually he was released to house arrest. The accusations at the time ranged from accessory to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder, and making contact with a foreign agent.
Fast-forward two years and the only thing Israeli authorities are still accusing Nawi of is violating a clause in the “Law Implementing the Interim Agreement Regarding the West Bank and Gaza” — the Oslo Accords.
In its obsessive abuse of Nawi, Israel managed to resurrect the peace agreement it has worked so hard to kill. From the settlement enterprise to laws allowing the expropriation of private Palestinian land to IDF raids in Area A of the West Bank — which Oslo says are supposed to be under full Palestinian control — violating the Oslo Accords long ago became official Israeli policy. But now that they can be used against a left-wing activist, the Oslo Accords have suddenly become sacred. The irony of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked feigning concern about violations of the Oslo Accords is simply too much.
Nawi’s lawyers, Eitan Peleg and Lea Tzemel, said, following the announcement of the indictment, that a mountain of lies had turned into a molehill. One can understand why they would feel relief. The fervor with which Israeli authorities pursued Nawi made it seem that they would stop at nothing short of his head.
And yet the strange charge against Nawi, a charge for which no Israeli citizen has ever been tried, as well as the closing of the cases against two others arrested with Nawi, proves what anyone with eyes knew from the beginning: the accusations are baseless and vindictive. This is political persecution.Read More