In the occupied West Bank, Ezra Nawi, a Jewish peace and justice activist, is being persecuted and quite likely imprisoned at length for his solidarity with and non-violent support of the Israeli army and Israeli settler-oppressed Palestinians of the South Hebron hills region.
[I met and worked with Nawi in 2007 in South Hebron while living with the Palestinian families of Susiya; saw his tenacity, integrity and his direct but non-violent approach in confronting Israeli soldiers and abusive Israeli settlers who routinely attack the Palestinians from the region.
These Palestinians have already been repeatedly dispossessed of their land, homes, even their dwelling caves by force by the Israeli occupation army. The latest reported attack, on August 10, is mild compared to many very savage beatings of the Palestinians, mostly shepherds and a number quite elderly. The B’Tselem “shooting back” project in June 2008 documented such a violent attack on Hajj Khalil Nawaja, an elder of over 60 years, and his wife Tamam, also over 60. It wasn’t the first time Khalil Nawaja was attacked and brutally beaten by the Israeli settlers of Susiya colony.]
Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace, says:
Ezra Nawi will be sentenced this coming Sunday. Over 19,000 people have already asked Israel not to jail him.
Here is video footage from the day of the ‘crime’ the state of Israel is accusing Nawi of–assaulting an officer. The video clearly shows Nawi trying to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins from Um El Hir in the South Hebron hills.
We will bring their signatures to the courtroom–but we need more.
In the judge’s own words, Ezra was *”… pushing the people into the house while encouraging them, by rebuking the police, by encouraging others to lie in front of the bulldozer, by lying in front of the bulldozer with others, and, after this, by breaking into the shack that had been evicted after the bulldozer had already started the demolition.”*
The judge concluded that *”the acts and behavior of the defendant constitute serious interferences that were meant to disturb the peace.”*
*What peace? The peace where Palestinian homes are demolished with impunity and where civil disobedience is called ‘rioting’?*
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz compared his non-violent resistance to that of the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.(1) Both went to jail for heir beliefs. An Israeli judge wants to make sure that Ezra follows the same path. *We need as many people as we can to send letters to the Israeli government on behalf of Ezra Nawi, this good and gentle man who should be devoting his great energy to justice and not wasting time in jail.
Please send a letter to the Consulate, to the media, to your family and friends.
Other things you can do to help:
Consider donating to help defray the legal costs and to support Ezra Nawi’s human rights activities.