An important report has exposed the involvement of a number of "human rights activists", including the field researcher for B’Tselem in the South Hebron Hills, in a sting operation to hand over a person to the Palestinian Authority’s preventive security forces, with the certain knowledge that he would meet a bitter end of torture and death.
The photojournalism report was aired Thursday 14 February 2016, on Israel’s Channel 2 television’s Uvda (Fact) news program. In a video recording produced with a hidden camera, Ezra Nawi, a Jewish far-left activist from the Ta’ayush group, is heard speaking about four Palestinian real-estate sellers, whom Nawi 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 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…
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 that information to Palestinian security officials as well. 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.
As a result, The Israel Police have opened a criminal investigation.
In this context it is important to note that Nawi also had work ties with Breaking the Silence and Rabbis for Human Rights, which paid for his services. These two organizations, like B’Tselem, mentioned above, receive funding from the New Israel Fund (NIF).
Still, despite the grave nature of the actions portrayed in the Uvda report, the New Israel Fund, a major financer and supporter of B’Tselem, chose to defend the organization, stating that the NIF is proud to support it. According to the NIF, "The clarification we received from B’Tselem … revealed that B’Tselem’s investigator, Mr Nasser Nawaja, who appears in the report, was acting on his own behalf as a Palestinian resident of the South Hebron Hills, and not on behalf of B’Tselem."
B’Tselem, whose regional field researcher, as noted above, was also involved in the effort to turn in the "real estate agent" to the Palestinian Authority, chose to support the researcher, claiming that "contacting the sovereign authorities cannot be considered turning someone in."
Furthermore, A.B. Yehushua, a member of B’Tselem’s Public Council, contended that,
"The mechanisms of the PA are those of an official body that we recognize and we are happy that they exist. We want transparency… even in the Palestinian Authority…As for their fate [the would-be sellers], that is another question… they don’t have to torture people who sell land. That must something that is forbidden…but transparency is one thing, torture is another… that is already their business, whom they torture and whom they don’t torture… I think it is a terrible thing for the PA to do, but it’s the PA, it’s their right."
In other words, instead of denouncing the actions of the researcher, the NIF and B’Tselem back his actions, ignore the serious ramifications and are effectively endorsing murder!
In contrast to them, Israel’s prime minister, defense minister and the former head of the Shabak security forces, emphasized the severity of the situation, and sharply denounced the actions:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook on Friday 15 January 2016 that the report "unmasked radicals among us, whose hatred for settlements has pushed them over the edge to the point of delivering innocents for torture and execution. Those who encourage murder cannot continue to hide behind the hypocritical pretense of caring for human rights."
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said: "…Over the years I have encountered radical leftist activists, ‘human rights activists,’ whose main activities involve the maligning Israel, the IDF and the security forces, as part of the BDS phenomenon… in the guise of concern for human rights, some inciting against the State of Israel, spreading lies and, as it turns out – also endangering the lives of the Palestinian land sellers…and everything is kosher from their perspective in order to harm the State of Israel, out of hatred and other despicable motives… these people are promoting neither peace nor human rights activists..."
Former Shabak chief, Knesset member Avi Dichter, noted that, "In the past week I was made privy to extremely harsh materials on the covert activities of a number of organizations such as Ta’ayush, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and other organizations that purport to be human rights organizations. Only a few of these organizations were covered in the investigative report on Uvda, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. These are criminal activities that must be investigated by the police and the Shabak."