Palestinians claiming to be the owners of an untended field inside Nokdim, an Israeli town southeast of Jerusalem, entered the community Wednesday morning along with their attorney. They said they wanted to set a time to return in order to plant crops in the field.
Several Nokdim residents protested the visit. One resident told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the Palestinians’ lawyer had demanded that security forces remove the residents who had gathered to demonstrate, claiming the site was privately-owned Palestinian land. Police refused.
The Palestinians entered the town along with Guy Butavia, an activist for the left-wing Ta’ayush organization. Butavia was granted permission from the IDF to enter the community under the pretext of serving as a driver for the Palestinians’ lawyer.
Butavia was arrested in January on suspicion of contacting a foreign agent and planning to commit a crime, after he was featured on the investigative television program “Uvda.” Butavia’s fellow Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi was shown on the program as bragging about turning in Palestinian real estate agents to the Palestinian Authority for selling land to Jews, and adding that this could lead to their death. Selling land to Jews is regarded as a crime under Palestinian law.