Gareth Smith (NSW) writes to the Byron Echo re the attack on Jenin’s Freedom Theatre 7Jan12 January 7, 2012

The Freedom Theatre in the Jenin Refugee Camp on the West Bank was established by Israeli actor, director, filmmaker and activist Juliano Mer-Khamis. He wanted to give young people experiencing the effects of the Israeli occupation: aggression, frustration, hopelessness and trauma on an almost daily basis the means to express themselves. The theatre thus fulfils a vital role in combating symptoms of severe emotional distress, concentration difficulties, aggressive behaviour, sleeplessness, nightmares and a whole host of psychosomatic symptoms.  On April 4, 2011 Juliano was assassinated.

The theatre’s co-founder and co-director, Zakaria Zubeidi, had been the Jenin chief of the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade but, in mid-2007, he renounced violence in favour of artistic cultural resistance and received an amnesty from the Israeli government. Without warning or reason the Israeli government has now revoked his amnesty and, since 29 December, he is being held under arrest inside the Palestinian security headquarters. An appeal by the Freedom Theatre states that his life is in danger. Zakaria’s arrest is only the latest example of long-standing violence and harassment against the theatre by the Israeli Defence Force.

On January 3 ABC TV’s seven o’clock news carried a story about the Freedom Theatre which included an interview with Zakaria but no mention was made of the continuing Israeli Defence Force harassment against the theatre or of Zakaria’s arrest.

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