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‘This is a totally political arrest, they will not thwart human rights!’ Guy Butavia tells the courthouse


This Activestills video records Guy Butavia greeted by supporters while being led through the halls outside the Jerusalem Magistate’s Court. Butavia is one of three activists, along with Ezra Nawi and Nasser Nawajah, who are being held in custody, their identities previously placed under a sweeping gag order in a “witch huntafter a sting operation aired on Israel’s primetime show Uvda, set up by undercover activists from a rightwing group Ad-Kan. While investigators are scurrying around trying to drum up bogus trumped up murder charges against them, everyone already knows no murder has ever taken place! But none the less charges of conspiracy to murder serious. Yossi Gurvitz started poking around(Hebrew) before the gag order was in place, then the farcical fiasco (with a story line fit for a shakespearean comedy if only it weren’t all too sadly true) continued unfolding on Tikun Olam, thanks to sleuth and blogger Richard Silverstein. 

“The police are working for Ad-Kan” shouts Butavia! Ad-Kan being the astro-turf organization “established to hide the involvement of other powerful right-wing groups and government entities which preferred to go under the radar”, explains Silverstein. Check out the video’s transcript, subtitles/translation, thanks Ronnie Barkan:

Hang in there, Guy!

Butavia: Ad-Kan didn’t just make an investigation for Uvda TV show. The police are working for Ad-Kan: the investigators sit in front of me holding Ad-Kan forms. They simply got all the questions, the pre-prepared investigation from Ad-Kan. The Israeli police are working for the Samaria Settler Council. 

Respect, Guy! Stay strong!

Guy, do you feel this is a political arrest?

Butavia: This is totally a political arrest. Its sole purpose is to thwart our activity for human rights in the territories, against the crimes and criminals of the occupation. They will not break us, they will not. All the cases they have tried to pin on us they haven’t succeeded. Also this time around this entire case will fall apart. 

Butavia and fellow activist Nawi were ordered released by the court:

Today, the Israeli court ordered the Jewish prisoners freed.  But unfortunately this will not happen till Sunday.

But not Nasser Nawaja, the Palestinian B’Tselem field researcher arrested along with Nawi and Butavia. Although Nawaja was also directed to be released unconditionally by the Jerusalem Magistate’s Court, Israeli police ignored the Israeli court’s order and “smuggled” Nawaja to Ofer Military kangaroo court in the occupied West Bank. He’s currently being incarcerated at Ofer prison.

Get that? The police ignored the court because, as Butavia yells, the Israeli police are working for the Samaria Settler Council (Shomron Regional Council, settlers representing over 30 illegal Israeli settlements)! The Shin Bet are not interested in pursuing this bogus case, they are not the ones doing the investigation. Silverstein:

the Shabak finds this case so distasteful that it has refused to become involved in the interrogation.  It has left the entire matter to the West Bank police unit which initiated the case at the behest of the official government body, the Shomron Regional Council, and its stalking horse, the NGO Ad Kan.

Meanwhile, now that the gag order has been lifted, Haaretz reports:

Nawi is suspected of contact with a foreign agent. But the foreign agents in question were apparently members of the Palestinian security services. Since Israeli defense officials are in contact with members of the PA security services on a regular basis, it’s not clear what legal grounds there could be for such a charge.

Even more puzzling, however, is the fact that the Palestinian suspect in the case, B’Tselem researcher Nasser Nawa’jah, is also suspected of contact with a foreign agent, even though he is a resident of the Palestinian Authority and not an Israeli citizen.

“For a resident of the territories, meeting with members of the Palestinian security services isn’t a crime; quite the contrary,” his attorney, Gabi Lasky, told the court. “In this case, his obligation as a Palestinian was to give the information to the authorized body in the Palestinian Authority.”

Nawi’s attorneys, Lea Tsemel and Eytan Peleg, charged in court that the Palestinian land dealer who appeared in the “Uvda” report was actually an imposter sent by a right-wing organization to entrap Nawi.

This story has more legs than a caterpillar. Let’s hope it’s resolved sooner than later and all three activists are released. Ronnie Barkan nails it:  “the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a legal basis for holding the three in custody, let alone the gag order, and yet it carries on even though this is quite clearly a case of political repression.”

Jewish Voice for Peace has again appealed to its members to protest the treatment of these human rights workers. Rebecca Vilkomerson writes:

On Tuesday, I emailed you urgently about Ezra Nawi. He’s a long-time Israeli activist who season after season stands with the Palestinians of the South Hebron hills while settlers (supported by Israeli soldiers) try in every way to drive them off their land and destroy their livelihoods.

After being spied upon by a right-wing organization and smeared on national television, he was arrested, detained, and denied access to a lawyer for four days. With a gag-order on the case, we asked you to help raise the alarm. Thousands of you contacted Israeli Embassies around the world to press for his release — thank you!

But the repression is getting worse.

Two additional activists, Guy Butavia (who is Israeli), and Nasser Nawajah (a Palestinian from the South Hebron hills), have also since been arrested and will be held until Sunday. Guy has been violently attacked in jail. Nasser was ordered released from the Israeli court system — only to be promptly sent to the separate military court system that only Palestinians are subject to.

The Israeli government is hoping that no-one will notice. They’re hoping that their attacks on human rights activists will go unchecked. We can’t let that happen. We need to show them that the world is watching…

This kind of harassment and persecution is nothing new — Palestinian activists have been on the receiving end of it for years. But now human rights violations that Palestinians face every day are being faced by the Israelis who stand with them as well.

This is not democracy. This is not justice. This cannot be allowed to stand.

We need to speak out, urgently — contact the Israeli Embassy and tell them to release Ezra, Guy, and Nasser right now and close their cases.

These brave activists put their bodies on the line. And for that — for daring to speak up for the human rights of Palestinians — they’re being targeted. They’ve been spied on by far-right groups, and smeared by the press. But they’re fighting on, and we’re fighting with them.

Stand with all those who speak up for peace and justice. Email the Israeli Embassy right now.

About Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss

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24 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    January 23, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Don’t you just love the way the big, beefy guy puts his arm in the way of the camera? Pathetic.

    I’ve been retraining myself from saying this because I wasn’t sure if the time was right, but now I think it is. It’s “crunch time” people. Time for the activists to pick a side and start resisting.

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 23, 2016, 1:07 pm

    all i can say is we had some sort of staff miscommunication. i’m surprised this got published as is because i just grabbed the video and was going to write about it, or phil was, but hadn’t yet. richard silverstein has written all about this

    anyway, i had gotten as far as the transcription of the video and phil had added rebecca’s email, which is all outdated now..and to wake up and find it already published is sort of a shocker.

    Butavia and Nawi are out but Nawajah isn’t.

    seriously, i can’t believe this got published as is.

    sorry! staff mix up

    • Annie Robbins
      January 23, 2016, 3:15 pm

      ok, so we just tried making some sense of all this in an update. very sorry everyone.

      • Shmuel
        January 23, 2016, 3:49 pm

        Thanks Annie.

        The police are working for Ad-Kan

        And the courts seem to be working for the police. The court initially sought to release Butavia altogether and Nawi to house arrest, but the police requested that they be held in custody, The court agreed but warned the police not to request another extension. When the extension was up, the court ordered their release (or at least Nawi’s, I’m also getting confused), but the police said they were going to appeal, so the court gave the police until the end of the day to submit their appeal. The police failed to do so, but said they would be doing so the following day. The court then agreed to another extension until Sunday!

        Nawajah’s case is even stranger. The court actually ordered his immediate release on Thursday, as whatever he had been accused of was not a security offence and was therefore out of their jurisdiction. Rather than releasing Nawajah, he was brought before a West Bank military judge, who approved the police’s request that he be held in custody until Sunday (this time in a military facility). When a petition was filed against the police for contempt of court, the (civilian) court ruled that it had not been contempt, because the police had “acted in good faith”.

        But why had the police brought Nawajah before an Israeli court in the first place, rather than to a WB military court (Nawajah lives in Susiya, which is in area C)? Once again, Butavia’s got the answer: it’s an Israeli political affair that has nothing to do with what one Palestinian may or may not have done to another Palestinian. The Israeli government — Samaria Regional Council — Ad Kan — Israeli TV — police — courts don’t give a damn about Nawajah or the Palestinian who died a natural death in the South Hebron Hills (Haaretz ran a story showing just how much Israel “cares” about Palestinian land dealers). It’s B’tselem (and Ta’ayush and Breaking the Silence and others) they’re after.

      • a blah chick
        January 23, 2016, 4:20 pm

        Stuff happens.

        Silverstein says that the settlers and their police are “shopping” Nawajah around the local courts to see if they can get a sympathetic ear. They had no success in Israel which is why they came back to the West Bank.

        But remember, it’s not apartheid!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 23, 2016, 4:45 pm

        i know shmuel, it’s outrageous, the whole thing. and this new ngo law — they are just trying to screw over activists anyway they can. and i suspect they dragged Nawajah into this just to really screw w/b’tselem. knowing it must drive them nuts to think Nawajah will have to sit in jail because he works with them. knowing had they tried to arrest b’tselem there was no case, so they steal away Nawajah. and the occupation military courts — they can do whatever they want with him. whatever charges they come up with it’s like 99.9999% chance the court will go along with. as i mentioned, if it was so true it would read like a shakespearean comedy.

  3. DaBakr
    January 23, 2016, 1:42 pm

    ezra was practically tortured into bragging on camera about how he turned over arabs to the pa and they were first tortured and then, you know, ended. just another super-complex conspiracy hatched by the evil yet brilliant shin bet. you know these people will believe anything

    • Annie Robbins
      January 23, 2016, 3:22 pm

      bragging… how he turned over arabs to the pa and they were first tortured and then, you know, ended. –

      he was beyond stupid for doing that but it’s a far cry from having ever done it!

      • a blah chick
        January 23, 2016, 4:16 pm

        DB’s comment is like that Andrew Sullivan article he wrote after the Gaza war. In it he expressed concern over the “massacres” Hamas was likely to commit against Israel if the embargo ended. For him the fictional killings of Israelis (Jews only) was worse than the actual massacres of real Palestinians.

    • a blah chick
      January 23, 2016, 4:11 pm

      The plot was hatched by settlers who are being aided by the West bank “police,” apparently the Shin Bet wants nothing to do with it. That should tell you something right there. Also whatever Nawi said NO ONE was turned over to the Palestinian authorities much less killed.

      But it is nice to see your concern for a Palestinian, albeit a fictitious one.

      • DaBakr
        January 23, 2016, 6:24 pm

        nawi bragged about much more then one arab turned over to pa tortured then killed. the lack of concern is clearly on the part of many mw commenters here hysterically trying to slap together another convoluted conspiracy then just accepting and doing something about a situation which everybody here knows occurs. maybe not often-but enough where nobody is shocked at anything except the lack of outrage (or is it fictitious outrage?) from the left.

    • talknic
      January 23, 2016, 8:14 pm

      @ DaBakr “ezra was practically tortured into “

      ‘practically tortured’ … WOW! What an interesting concept

  4. a blah chick
    January 23, 2016, 7:48 pm

    “nawi bragged about much more then one arab turned over to pa tortured then killed”

    There is no evidence that Nawi turned anyone over to the PA to be tortured and killed. Ever. But if you’ve got those tapes by all means share them. Otherwise I find your concern for those “tortured and killed” Palestinians dubious.

    • DaBakr
      January 24, 2016, 12:14 am


      got it. ignoring the confession and sticking with the lack of corroboration and the likelihood of all confessed actions being unprovable legally. that may very well be exactly how this all plays out.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2016, 1:19 am

        perhaps reviewing the definition of “confession” might be beneficial at this juncture:

        A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden.

        what fact might you (or nawi) be referencing?

      • DaBakr
        January 24, 2016, 5:15 pm


        got it. semantic somersaults over ‘confession’.

      • Talkback
        January 25, 2016, 10:41 am

        Annie: “perhaps reviewing the definition of “confession” might be beneficial at this juncture”

        An Israeli “confession” means a Palestinian signing a paper which he can’t understand, because it’s written in Hebrew to avoid being even longer in prison waiting for a military trial he can’t possibly win.

        An Israeli “investigation” means to avoid finding the cause of death of the Palestinian who Nawi has allegedly turned over to the PA.

  5. jd65
    January 24, 2016, 2:16 am

    Is Guy Italian? I like his Sinatra hat :)


  6. Jackdaw
    January 24, 2016, 10:50 am

    ” The police ignored the court because, as Butavia yells, the Israeli police are working for the Samaria Settler Council”

    I’m not sure the Jerusalem Magistrate Court has jurisdiction over a West Bank resident who is not a citizen of Israel.

  7. JLewisDickerson
    January 24, 2016, 1:17 pm

    RE: “Ad-Kan didn’t just make an investigation for Uvda TV show. The police are working for Ad-Kan: the investigators sit in front of me holding Ad-Kan forms. They simply got all the questions, the pre-prepared investigation from Ad-Kan. The Israeli police are working for the Samaria Settler Council.” ~ Butavia


    • JLewisDickerson
      January 24, 2016, 2:12 pm

      RE: “This is totally a political arrest. Its sole purpose is to thwart our activity for human rights in the territories, against the crimes and criminals of the occupation. They will not break us, they will not. All the cases they have tried to pin on us they haven’t succeeded. Also this time around this entire case will fall apart.” ~ Butavia

      HEARTLESS DICK CHENEY SEZ: “This guy obviously hasn’t seen Netflix’s Making a Murderer.* Not to mention what we did to Don Siegelman.”**

      * Making A Murderer – Trailer (VIDEO, 02:55) –
      Making A Murderer – Episode 1 [VIDEO, 1:04:38] –
      SEASON 1 EPISODES : Making a Murderer (2015) –

      ** Don Siegelman @ Wikipedia.org
      Free Don Siegelman! –
      Insider on Siegelman Prosecution Team Fears For His Life –

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 25, 2016, 4:40 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “What Happened to Brendan Dassey – After Making a Murderer Update” | | Jan 3, 2016

      [EXCERPTS] . . . In the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, the flaws of the Manitowoc County judicial system are brought to painful light. Making a Murderer focuses on Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, but after exoneration, was convicted of murder. Avery and many others feel as though the conviction was to punish Avery for exposing misbehavior of the Manitowoc County executive and judicial offices. The scope of this misbehavior is most evident in the testimony from Brendan Dassey, which was used to convict Avery. . .

      Brendan Dassey’s Defense

      Len Kachinsky had just made a failed bid for circuit judge before being offered the role of Brendan’s defender. Appointed on March 7, Kachinsky started making statements to the press before ever speaking with Brendan. In a phone call with the Green Bay area NBC affiliate, Kachinsky stated, “We have a 16-year-old who, while morally and legally responsible, was heavily influenced by someone that can only be described as something close to evil incarnate.” This statement is still having an effect on the path of Brendan’s legal battles.

      [PHOTO CAPTION: Len Kachinsky took up to 12 hours to meet with press to defend his client before even meeting Brendan ]

      After making it publicly clear how he was approaching the case, Kachinsky retained the services of Michael O’Kelly. Digging around on Google reveals “Cell Tower Mike” O’Kelly had worked as a defense expert before, billing himself as an expert in cellular technologies and “polygraph.” In a 2012 case O’Kelly was involved with, O’Kelly is kicked off the defense team after he “took it upon himself to assume a more active investigative role.”

      Initially, O’Kelly was hired by Kachinsky to administer a polygraph to Brendan Dassey. Dassey had asked Kachinsky for the lie detector test, objecting to the guilt implied by his March 1 statements. The results of this test were reported as inconclusive during the Dassey trial, and so were not admitted as evidence. However, with this in, O’Kelly’s role within the case began to grow, as it had earlier cases.

      In an e-mail sent on April 27, 2006 where O’Kelly alluded to an interest in finding information which would prove Brendan’s confession, he also stated he thought Brendan would be the primary witness against Steven Avery. As dialog highlighted in episode 4 of Making a Murderer, the attitude of Brendan’s defense was that he should try to play into his perceived guilt in order to reduce his own culpability.

      On May 9th, O’Kelly sent e-mail to Kachinksy about an upcoming meeting he wanted with Brendan. O’Kelly stated that Brendan should be kept alone, so he is ready to “trust” O’Kelly, and to bring Brendan to “see reality from [the defense’s] perspective.”

      On May 12, 2006, Michael O’Kelly interviewed Brendan Dassey on behalf of Len Kachinsky. After laying out photographs of the crime scene and other artifacts, including a printout of Dassey’s polygraph results (later reported as inconclusive by Kachinsky.) O’Kelly tells Dassey, however, that the results show with 98% certainty that Dassey was lying during his earlier polygraph.

      O’Kelly provided Dassey with a form, asking him, “Are you sorry for what you did?” [PHOTO CAPTION: Saying you are sorry for an action may be perceived in court as admission ] From there, O’Kelly conducted an extensive interview with Dassey, ultimately getting Brendan to write a detailed confession. O’Kelly even instructed Dassey to draw pictures of things like Halbach tied to Avery’s bed.

      Immediately after the interview ends, O’Kelly called Kachinsky, saying that it went very well, and asking if he should set an appointment with the DOJ’s investigator, Tom Fassbender. O’Kelly made the appointment, and the next morning, Fassbender and Wiegert interrogate Brendan. Their intention was to clear up previous inconsistencies, and to ensure his confession doesn’t contradict the physical evidence acquired after the search authorized by the warrants gotten after Brendan’s first confession.

      Brendan Dassey’s May 13 statements to the investigators, made without Kachinsky’s presence, did little to bolster the prosecutor’s case. Brendan’s answers were as inconsistent and contradictory as they had been on March 1. By then, Brendan’s mother Barb had become suspicious of her son’s defenders. In her eyes, it seemed as though they were pushing him to admit he was guilty, to help the case against Steven Avery, regardless of his actual guilt. . .


    • JLewisDickerson
      January 25, 2016, 4:46 am

      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation Feb 26, 2006 ( Steven Avery Making a Murderer ) [VIDEO, 41:33] –
      Published on Dec 29, 2015 – This is the police interview that was done after Brendan Dassey and his mother were put up at a hotel by police and he spoke with police the evening before. This is Brendan Dassey’s first known recorded statement.

      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation Part #1 ( Making a Murderer Steven Avery Case ) [VIDEO, 56:03] –
      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation Part #2 ( Making a Murderer Steven Avery Case ) [VIDEO, 1:47:53] –
      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation Part #3 ( Making a Murderer Steven Avery Case ) [VIDEO, 1:35:22] –

      ■ MAY 13, 2016 INTERVIEW OF DASSEY
      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation May 13, 2006 – Steven Avery Making a Murderer [VIDEO, 1:13:51] –
      Published on Dec 29, 2015 – This is the part 1 of the Brendan Dassey police interview that was done on May 13, 2006. This is the interview that was arranged by Len Kachinsky [Dassey’s court-appointed, hack attorney (wink, wink)] after Brendan Dassey spoke with Michael O’Kelly [Kachinsky’s hack private investigator (possibly compromised)] and was done/conducted without Len Kachinsky being present.
      • Brendan Dassey Police Interview / Interrogation May 13, 2006 – Making a Murderer [VIDEO, 2:10:40] –
      This is the part 2 of the Brendan Dassey police interview that was done on May 13, 2006.

  8. Donna Baranski-Walker
    January 25, 2016, 9:30 am

    Israeli Military Court Orders Release of B’Tselem Employee Suspected in Conspiracy to Murder Land Dealer
    read more:

    This is good news for Nasser’s family and all of Susiya — but he’s not home yet. The article says, “The [Military] court gave the police 24 hours to appeal the release.” … does that mean he must stay in Ofer Prison 24 hours longer?

    Nawaja’s lawyer, Attorney Gabi Lasky, said the proceedings have proved the affair to be “much ado about nothing.”

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