JERUSALEM (JTA) — A left-wing Jewish-Israeli activist who was recorded saying he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill Palestinians who sell land to Jews was arrested.
Israel Police arrested Ezra Nawi, 63, at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday as he attempted to leave the country for a destination in Europe. He is to be investigated on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.
No order had been issued barring him from leaving the country and he had not been called in for questioning before his arrest, the Times of Israel reported.
In a recording aired Thursday by the television program “Uvda” on Israel’s Channel 2, Nawi is heard speaking about four Palestinian real-estate sellers whom he said mistook him for a Jew interested in buying their property.
“Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” Nawi, a far-left activist from the pro-Palestinian Taayush group, is heard saying in reference to the Palestinian Authority’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”
In the Palestinian Authority, the penal code reserves capital punishment for anyone convicted of selling land to Jews. The law, which Palestinian officials defended as designed to prevent takeovers by settlers, has not been implemented in Palestinian courts, where sellers of land to Jews are usually sentenced to several years in prison. However, in recent years several Palestinian have been murdered for selling land. Their murders have remained unsolved.
Nawi was also documented obtaining information from a Palestinian who believed Nawi was a Jew interested in purchasing land. Nawi is seen saying he intends to give the information to Palestinian security officials as well. According to “Uvda,” an activist with the human rights group B’Tselem helped Nawi set up the would-be seller in a sting operation in which the seller would be arrested.
The recordings and footage were collected by right-wing activists who secretly recorded Nawi.
Nawi, who was born in Jerusalem to a family of Jewish Iraqi immigrants, had denied trying to entrap the land broker.