Ezra Nawi, an Israeli activist who stood in the way of Israeli soldiers demolishing a Palestinian home, was sentenced earlier this week to 30 days in jail for allegedly ‘attacking’ the Israeli police who arrested him. Despite video evidence disproving the soldiers’ accounts, Nawi was found guilty and convicted.The incident took place in the village of in the village of Um el-Hir in February, 2007, an area south of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, where right-wing Israeli settlers have continually expanded their settlements and attacks on Palestinians in violation of both Israeli and international law.
Ezra Nawi participated in a non-violent protest in which he and other Israelis tried to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home by Israeli forces by standing in front of the home, unarmed, as bulldozers and soldiers approached. Nawi stood his ground and remained non-violent, even as Israeli soldiers and police assaulted him. In the video of the incident, Ezra Nawi can be heard saying, ‘Yes, I was also a soldier, but I did not demolish houses… The only thing that will be left here is hatred…’
Before his sentencing, Nawi published an open letter on a website set up by his supporters, saying, ‘I have been harassed and targeted throughout the years, because I embody three elements which provoke bigotry in the Israeli society: I am a homosexual, I am a Mizrahi Jew, and I devote all my time to fighting for the human rights of Arab Palestinians….I am a simple person. I did what my heart told me to do…I feel that now the Israeli authorities are punishing me on a personal level. I would like to believe that my personal adversity will inspire and motivate individuals to actively oppose the occupation.”
In addition to serving 30 days in prison, Nawi will be subject to three years of restricted movement. If he is found, during those three years, to have participated in an “illegal gathering”, he will have to serve up to three years in jail.