OCTOBER 21, 2009 UPDATE:
Today, Israeli activist Ezra Nawi was sentenced to one month in jail. Why? On July 22, 2007, he tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region. The whole incident was documented on video, except for a few seconds when Ezra was inside the shack being demolished. Israeli Border Policemen claimed to have been hit by Ezra in these few seconds, and the judge, of course, took their word over Ezra's.
This should come as no surprise. The very same day of Ezra's sentencing, Israel's State Prosecutor's Office decided not to press charges against Border Guard policemen documented in a video hitting Palestinians, 'as they did not cause real damage.' (1)
While these Border Guards go free, Ezra Nawi goes to jail.
After over 20,000 of you wrote letters in Ezra's defense, the judge had tried to avert more bad publicity by encouraging Ezra to admit his guilt and take community service instead of prison time. Ezra could not admit a crime he did not commit, so rather than avoiding jail as a guilty person, he is going to prison as an innocent man.
Ezra was further ordered to pay a fine of NIS 750 and NIS 500 to each of the officers he was wrongfully convicted of assaulting. In addition, Ezra was given a conditional sentence of six months in prison, should he 'participate in similar activities' during the next three years.
In reaction to the sentence, settlers complained about 'the selectivity of law enforcement officials,' implying that the judge went too light on Nawi, but ignoring the glaring irony that it is the settlers themselves who enjoy the privileges of the discriminatory system imposed by the Israeli occupation. (2)
For updates and next steps on Ezra's case, please go here: http://www.supportezra.net/
(1) State won't prosecute officers filmed beating Palestinians. Haaretz, Oct 21, 2009 (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1122549.html)
(2) Leftist jailed for 1 month for assaulting police in West Bank . Haaretz, Oct 21, 2009 (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1122584.html)
Naomi Klein, Neve Gordon, Noam Chomsky and over twenty thousan others people asked Israel not to jail Ezra Nawi, one of Israel’s most courageous human rights activists.
His crime? He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region.
Nawi, a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent, is a threat to the settlers and the Israeli government because he has brought international attention to efforts to illegally remove Palestinians from the Hebron region.
The New York Times has taken notice and written this profile of Nawi and his activism.
(Watch the remarkable video of Nawi trying to stop the home demolition and his subsequent arrest.)
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