Jenin Freedom Theater Attacked

 Jenin Freedom Theater Attacked July 27, 2011Jenin Freedom Theater Attacked July 27, 2011

Dear members and supporters of the arts community,

We hope you will endorse this statement and forward it widely.
To endorse, please send an email to with the
word "ENDORSE" in the subject line.
In the body of the email, please include your name, city, state, country,
occupation (actor, filmmaker, director, or if you are not in the arts, you
can put "arts supporter") and organizational affiliation, if any.
Thank you!
Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre

We the undersigned, members and supporters of the arts community, deplore
the recent attacks in Jenin on The Freedom Theatre, its people and
property. The Freedom Theatre is a beacon for artistic expression,
offering youth in Jenin a safe space in which to express themselves, and
to explore their creativity and emotions. The Theatre has the following
admirable goals:

-       To raise the quality of performing arts and cinema in the area.

-       To offer a space in which children and youth can act, create and
express themselves freely, imagining new realities and challenging
existing political, social and cultural barriers.

-       To empower the young generation to use the arts to promote
positive change in their community.

-       To break the cultural isolation that separates Jenin from the
wider Palestinian and global communities.

To our dismay, the Israeli military attacked The Freedom Theatre in the
Jenin Refugee Camp at 3:30 a.m. on July 27, 2011, hurling rocks at its
building and damaging windows.  During this raid, they arrested Adnan
Naghnaghiye, the Theatre's facilities manager, and then went to the home
of Bilal Saadi, the President of the Theatre's Board in Jenin, and
arrested him after damaging his home.  Charges against them have not been
made public.

On August 6, 2011, while at a checkpoint crossing with members of the
Theatre's acting troupe, soldiers of the Israeli military arrested,
handcuffed and blindfolded Rami Awni Hwayel, a 20-year old third-year
acting student.

Calls to the military authorities to get information about all three have
yielded no information.

We call on the Israeli government either to make public any charges
against the three Freedom Theatre personnel or release them immediately.
In addition, we insist that the Israeli military pay damages for the
destruction to the Theatre and to Mr. Saadi's home.

We call on all supporters of the arts everywhere, including our fellow
artists and supporters of the arts in Israel, to support The Freedom
Theatre as an inspiring source of cultural understanding and artistic hope
and to demand that attacks against it cease.

Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre
P.O. Box 592
Tarrytown, NY 10592
917 991 5653

If you live in the United States you can call the office of the Israeli
Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, at 202 364 5500 to make your demand in
person. The email is:

Constancia Dinky Romilly
Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre
PO Box 1125
New York, NY 10276
917 991 5653

Press Release  date: 2011-07-27

The Freedom Theatre Foundation, Jenin, Palestine

Special Forces of the Israeli Army attacked the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp at approximately 03:30 this morning. Ahmad Nasser Matahen, a night guard and technician student at the theatre was awoken by heavy blocks of stone being hurled at the theatre by soldiers and several windows were shattered. As he opened the door he found masked and heavily armed Israeli soldiers around the theatre.

Ahmed says that the army threw heavy blocks of stone at the theatre, “they told me to open the door to the theatre. They told me to raise my hands and forced me to take my pants down. I thought my time had come, that they would kill me. My brother that was with me was handcuffed.“

The location manager of The Freedom Theatre, Adnan Naghnaghiye was arrested and taken away to an unknown location together with Bilal Saadi a member of the board of The Freedom Theatre. When the general manager of the theatre Jacob Gough from the UK and the co-founder of the theatre Jonatan Stanczak from Sweden arrived to the scene they were forced at gunpoint to squat next to a family with four small children surrounded by approximately 50 heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

Jonatan says: “Whenever we tried to tell them that they are attacking a cultural venue and arresting members of the theatre we were told to shut up and they threatened to kick us, I tried to contact the civil administration of the army to clarify the matter but the person in charge hung up on me.“

Windows Broken at the Jenin Freedom TheaterWindows Broken at the Jenin Freedom Theater

 The Freedom Theatre - a theatre and cultural centre in Jenin Refugee Camp - is developing the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia in the north of the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the organisation continues to grow, develop and expand, enabling the young generation in the area to develop new and important skills which will allow them to build a better future for themselves and for their society.

Juliano Mer-Khamis (Hebrewג'וליאנו מֵר ח'מיס‎‎, Arabicجوليانو مير خميس‎; ‎29 May 1958 – 4 April 2011[2]) was an Israeli actordirectorfilmmaker and political activist of Jewish andChristian Arab parentage.[3] On 4 April 2011, he was assassinated by a masked gunman in the Palestinian city of Jenin, where he established the Freedom Theatre.