Solidarity with the Freedom Theatre of Jenin, West Bank sign now

We, members of the UK theatre community, deplore the recent attack on The Freedom Theatre in Jenin by members of the Israeli Defence Forces. The Freedom Theatre works with young people in Jenin Refugee Camp and Jenin City, empowering them to use the arts to promote positive change in their community. It provides a creative outlet for young people in the North West Bank area, many of whom suffer from severe emotional problems as a result of the Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

The theatre was raided at 3am on July 27 with rocks thrown at the door and numerous windows shattered. The location manager Adnan Naghnaghiye together with Bilal Saadi a member of the board were arrested and taken to prison in Israel. The General Manager of the theatre, Jacob Gough from the UK, and the theatre’s co-founder, Jonaton Stanczak from Sweden, were made to squat next to a family with their four small children, surrounded by some of the 50 heavily armed soldiers, who threatened them with abuse when they tried to reason with them.

We are shocked that a cultural icon such as the Freedom Theatre, the only professional venue for theatre and multi media in the North West Bank could be attacked in such a brutal manner. We call on the Israeli government to launch an independent public enquiry into the events.

We call on our fellow artists in Israel and beyond to support the Freedom Theatre as an inspiring source of cultural understanding and artistic hope.

We, the undersigned, call upon the Government of Israel to launch an independent public enquiry into the events of 27th July 2011 in which the Freedom Theatre of Jenin was attacked by Israel Defence Forces and 2 members of the theatre staff arrested and taken to prison in Israel.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please forward to fellow theatre artists.

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