OW_Blog | Wednesday April 6th, 2011
With great sadness we received the message (passed on to us by FDCL_Blog via the IDFA newsletter) that Israeli director, actor, theater educator and peace activist Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot in Jenin on April 4.
A suspect has been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces. The man, a former al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades militant who was released from Israeli prison more than five years ago and allegedly supported the Hamas after his release, hasn’t confessed to the crime.
Former al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades commander Zakaria Zubeidi, who was granted amnesty by Israel and co-directed the peace project Freedom Theatre with Mer-Khamis, believes the murder was a calculated political act.
Juliano Mer-Khamis was born on May 29, 1958 in Nazareth to a Jewish mother and an Arab father. In addition to an acting career – he had roles in such international productions as 1984’s “The Little Drummer Girl”, an Israeli-Palestinian conflict set thriller with Diane Keaton, and recently Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” – Mer-Khamis was a vocal critic of Israel’s policies towards Palestine and peace activist. In 2006, he took over the work of his mother, peace activist Arna Mer, and became a co-director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. The theater offers a creative outlet for often traumatized young people living in the refugee camps of Jenin. Freedom Theatre’s goals are empowerment of Palestinian youths, building bridges between Palestinians and Israelis, offering a space for discourse beyond prejudices and taboos.
Our condolecenses to all loved ones and colleagues.
Mer-Khamis’ documentary ARNA’S CHILDREN about the tireless human rights work of his mother, screened at One World Berlin in 2004.
Film preview here
More information about the investigation of Mer-Khamis’ murder here.