As reported by Mondoweiss, last night at 3am, Israeli troops entered the home of Nabil Al Raee, Artistic Director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, and arrested him at gunpoint, giving him and his wife no explanation for their actions, and terrifying his three-year old daughter. He is currently being held in a nearby military prison.
Jenin is in Zone A of the West Bank, under Palestinian control and administration, and this arrest by the IDF violates the Oslo Accords. To be arrested without charge also violates Nabil Al Raee’s human rights.
British Writers in Support of Palestine condemns in unequivocal terms this violent, illegal and repressive act, which is part of a systematic campaign of intimidation clearly directed at the Freedom Theatre itself. For the last three weeks Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi has been held without charge in a prison in Jericho. The IDF investigation of the murder of founding Artistic Director Juliano Mer Khamis has only ever been directed at Freedom Theatre Staff, and has now been officially closed, ignoring significant forensic evidence.
British Writers in Support of Palestine demands a full and proper investigation into the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, and the immediate release of Nabil Al Raee and Zakaria Zubeidi, neither of whom have been charged with any crime. We thank our colleagues in the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign for their comprehensive statement placing these recent arrests in the context of the increasing abuse of Palestinian prisoners by Israeli military courts. With the IPSC we call for the end of Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention and its Unlawful Combatants Law, by means of which Israel interns people without charge; and demand that Israeli courts treat all Palestinian prisoners in accordance with international law, and free all Palestinian political prisoners.
Our thoughts are with Nabil and Zakaria and their families and friends at this dark and uncertain time.
Press Release from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, northern West Bank June 6, 2012
At approximately 03:15 am the Israeli army entered the home of Nabil Al-Raee, the Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, and took him to an unknown location.
Nabil’s wife, Micaela Miranda explains what happened: “The dog started barking so I went outside and saw soldiers jumping over the gate and come into the yard of the house. They asked for my husband and I asked what for, that it’s my right to know and it’s my house. The soldiers replied that they were not going to tell me. They then took Nabil, brought him to an army jeep and drove off. We are very worried because we don’t know where they took him and why.”
Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director of The Freedom Theatre: “I live on the floor above Nabil and when I heard what was happening I tried to go down to talk to the soldiers because I speak Hebrew. The house was surrounded by masked Israeli soldiers and three of them immediately pointed their weapons at me and pushed me back into the house.”
Attempts were immediately made to contact the District Coordination Office of the Israeli army but to no avail. More than half the employees of The Freedom Theatre were recently called to interrogations by the Israeli army, including Nabil Al-Raee. All came to the appointments as scheduled and answered to their best of their knowledge the given questions even though they were intimidated and even threatened.
Jonatan Stanczak continues: “I don’t understand why they do this after they know they could simply have made a phone call to Nabil and he would have come to answer any questions or concerns that they might have. Since this has happened so many times in the past, I can’t interpret it as anything else than an ongoing harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre and their families by the Israeli army.”
At this point it is unclear if any other members of The Freedom Theatre have been taken during the night. Several of them have not responded to phone calls.