David Norris ex-lover in 'death squad' sting
Ezra Nawi accused of setting up Palestinians to be killed by secret police
Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30
Senator David Norris's former partner has been condemned by Israel's prime minster after he was filmed claiming to help Palestinian secret police find and kill Palestinians who sell land to Jews.
Controversial human rights activist Ezra Nawi, who was central to the collapse of Mr Norris's presidential campaign, was secretly recorded posing as a Jew seeking to buy land from Palestinians with the aim of gathering information for Palestinian counter-intelligence agencies.
Shockingly, he is recorded on camera telling an undercover investigator that Palestinian special forces will "catch these guys and kill them" after he hands over the details.
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the video footage, broadcast by a prominent Israeli current affairs show, "unmasked radicals" 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 pretence of caring for human rights," he added.
Mr Nawi is an Israeli-born left-wing Palestinian rights activist who hit the headlines in Ireland during the 2011 Presidential election after it emerged Mr Norris wrote a clemency letter on his behalf after he was imprisoned for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.
Mr Norris had a 10-year relationship with Mr Nawi and they remained close friends after they broke up.
On Thursday, a respected Israeli investigative television show, Uvda (Facts), aired recordings of Mr Nawi, which were originally filmed by members of a right-wing Israeli human rights group that infiltrated Ezra Nawi's organisation, Ta'ayush
The material recorded by the right-wing group Ad Kan was given to Uvda, which is broadcast on the left-wing Israeli television network Channel 2.
Mr Nawi is filmed taking a call a from Palestinian real estate agent hoping to sell land.
"He's not the first to call me, he's maybe the fourth," Nawi said, before adding: "And right away I send their pictures and their phone numbers to the Palestinian security services."
Asked what the secret police do with the information, he says: "They catch these guys and they kill them."
Selling land to Jews is punishable by death under strict Palestinian laws, but the courts have not implemented death sentences in recent years and instead hand down heavy prison sentences.
However, there have been several unsolved murders of Palestinians who sold land to Jews, according to local reports.
Speaking after the show, Israeli deputy defence minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan said the footage showed some human rights organisations "actually trample on human rights".
Israel's science minister, Ofir Akunis, is reported saying the show revealed "another dangerous expression of the escalation of the extreme left".
In a statement, published on the website of Israeli Newspaper Haaretz, Mr Nawi is quoted as denying he tried to entrap Palestinian land sellers. "The opposite is true. He came to me and presented himself as a land broker," he said. "I assumed he was sent to frame me and tarnish my name in the Palestinian community. I had no choice but to report the incident to the Palestinian Authority, lest I be deemed a land buyer," he added.
Efforts to contact Mr Norris at his home address and his Leinster House office were unsuccessful.