Nadia Matar of Women In Green is on trial for calling Yonatan Bassi, the coordinator of the Azza Expulsion, a name. That's right. She is on trial for calling a public official a name.
This idiotic concept became law around the time the Sharon government was preparing to expel 8,000 Jews from their homes in Azza and the Northern Shomron (5765/2005), hand their land over to our enemies, and open up the southern coast of Israel and Upper Negev Desert to an increased barrage of Qassam rockets.
Actually, Nadia was originally acquitted. If I remember correctly, the judge on the case also happened to think the law to be silly. However, the prosecution decided to appeal the decision (Yes, the prosecution can do that here in Israel!), as is its right, wasting thousands of sheqqels which could be used instead to help those who were expelled, and still without adequate and permanent housing.
Still think Israel is a democracy with protected free speech?
Here is a summary of the latest court session, with a few sections I felt important to highlight. The trial will continue on Thursday, 27 Tishrei 5770/October 15, 2009.
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Summary of Court Session
State of Israel v. Nadia Matar
Criminal proceedings 001470/06 before Justice David Mintz
June 16, 2009
On Tuesday, Yonatan Bassi testified at the trial of Nadia Matar, who is on trial for having compared his activity within the context of the expulsion initiative of the settlers of Gush Katif and northern Samaria to the activity of the Judenrat in Berlin, as regards the deportation of the Jews of Berlin in the Holocaust.
It became clear from his testimony that Yonatan Bassi did not file a complaint with the police, nor did any member of the public complain about this statement by Nadia Matar. Furthermore, when Yonatan Bassi was summoned by the police and the Deputy Attorney General Mr. Mike Blass, Bassi urged them not to initiate criminal proceedings against Nadia Matar. Furthermore, Yonatan Bassi emphasized in his testimony that he was not hurt by Nadia Matar's letter and statements in the media, which are at the basis of the charge sheet against her, Obviously, the prosecutor strenuously objected to revealing details in regard to the 59 defendants who were convicted of crimes that they committed in the context of opposition to the expulsion initiative. All those instances consist of transgressions more serious than that with which the defendant is charged in the charge sheet, arguing that these are not relevant. The court accepted the position of the defense attorney that these comprise evidence relevant for proving the central defense claim of the defendant, namely, selective enforcement of the law against Nadia Matar resulting from political persecution.
The courtroom was filled with dozens of supporters who came from near and far in support of Nadia Matar, and to protest against the continued persecution of Matar by the State Attorney's Office.
Adv. Yoram Sheftel brought those present to tears with the difficult and trenchant questions that he directed to Yonatan Bassi.
Adv. Sheftel reminded those in attendance that, for example, Kibbutz Sedeh Eliyahu, where Bassi lived, evicted him because a considerable portion of the people in Sedeh Eliyahu, as well, thought that Bassi resembled a Judenrat. Adv. Sheftel quoted from a letter written by Col. Gabbi Durlacher (Res.), a member of Kibbutz Sedeh Eliyahu, in which he wrote explicitly that the letter that Bassi wrote to the inhabitants of Gush Katif is reminiscent of the Judenrat.
Bassi definitely felt uncomfortable with Sheftel's trenchant and important questions, but, on the other hand, it did not appear that he was remorseful. He admitted that, unlike others who refused to accept the position of head of the Sela Administration, he agreed to Sharon's request. Apparently, as Adv. Sheftel hinted, that Yonatan Bassi agreed, politically and ideologically, with the very idea of the expulsion of 8,000 people from their homes and land.
The trial will continue on October 15.
Women in Green
Cross-posted on Esser Agaroth.