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Israel jails Jewish anti-occupation activist

Oct. 22, 2009 11:17 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 23, 2009 11:14 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – An Israeli court on Wednesday sentenced a prominent Jewish anti-occupation activist to one month in prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer during the demolition of Palestinian houses in the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court also ordered activist Ezra Nawi to pay a fine of 750,000 shekels (roughly 203,114 US dollars), and an additional 500 shekels (135 US dollars) to each officer he supposedly struck.

Judge Eilata Ziskind wrote in her ruling that "even if there is a supreme goal, it cannot be used as an excuse to commit offenses," according to Israel’s Ynet news site.

According to the same report, Nawi said in response that "the court has been permitting the occupation. The punishment doesn’t scare me, and neither does the judge."

Ziskind's verdict also said, "Freedom of expression is not the freedom to incite and take actions that prevent or disrupt police work…Freedom of expression does not allow for riots, incitement or violence. Democracy cannot allow this, for if the law enforcement system collapses, anarchy will reign and democracy and freedom of expression will be no more."

After the sentencing Nawi told Ynet, "The judge would rather take the word of two Border Guard officers who lied and coordinated their testimonies. The entire system wants to see me in jail.”

"The court has been permitting the occupation for years, they are trying to stop me at all costs. The judge doesn't scare me, and neither does the 30-day sentence,” he also said, according to Ynet.

Nawi, a member of the pro-Palestinian organization Ta'ayush, was arrested after he objected to Israel’s demolition of tin huts belonging to Palestinian Bedouin in the village of Umm Al-Kheir, south of the city of Hebron, in 2007.

According to the newspaper Haaretz, Nawi will serve an additional six months if he participates in similar protests during the next three years.
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