GRAFTON, Mass — Recent reports by some Church activists have complained about Israel’s arrest of Ezra Nawi, a Jewish Israeli citizen from Jerusalem. These reports describe Nawi as a “great campaigner against human rights abuses in the occupied [Palestinian] territories.”
But UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace (“UCCCJMEP”) has discovered that there is more to the story.
According to the New York Times (which noted that selling land to Jews is punishable by death under Palestinian law), a video airing on an Israeli television documentary program:
shows Mr. Nawi behind the wheel of his jeep, bragging about what appeared to be a dubious sideline to his activist work in the West Bank. He told the man sitting next to him, whom he believed to be a fellow sympathizer, that he sometimes posed as a land broker and engaged with other land dealers mediating sales of Palestinian-owned land to Jewish settlers, then handed over their details to the Palestinian Authority security services.
Asked what the Authority did with such people, Mr. Nawi said it “catches them and kills them.
The Jerusalem Post printed more of what Nawi said:
Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” he is heard saying in reference to the PA’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”
Nawi is now being investigated by the Israeli Nationalist Crimes Unit, which also handles “price-tag” attacks and other violent crimes committed by Jews against Palestinians.
“Surely this is not the kind of human rights activism the Church wants to promote,” says Rev. Jane Willan, Convener of UCCCJMEP.
“Perhaps some of our brothers and sisters saw some initial report and rushed to judgment against Israel,” says Rev. Joanne Marchetto, also a member of UCCCJMEP. “This is a gentle reminder to the Church of the importance of hearing all sides in any conflict as contentious and polarized as Israel and Palestine.”
For more information please contact UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace at www.middleeastpeace.website