Israel Revokes Zakaria Zubeidi’s Amnesty

Press Release 
31 December 2011
Israel Revokes Zakaria Zubeidi’s Amnesty
The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp

The co-founder, avid supporter and mentor of The Freedom Theatre, Zakaria Zubeidi, has been told by the Palestinian Authority that his amnesty has been revoked by the Israeli authorities. Zubeidi is since the 29th December being held in arrest inside the Palestinian security headquarters, supposedly on orders from Israel. No reason has been given for this incarceration.

The amnesty agreement, granted in 2007 by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office was in return for Zubeidi’s ending of armed resistance. Zubeidi managed to escape numerous Israeli attempts to assassinate him during the Intifada. The amnesty agreement allowed him to remain safe inside the Palestinian Authority district of Jenin where the Israeli military would not seek to arrest or assassinate him.

From captivity Zubeidi said yesterday: “I can stay under interrogation for a year if that’s what it takes but I just want to know that after that I will have my freedom.”

After having been the leader of the armed resistance during the second Intifada, Zubeidi is since 2006 committed to cultural, non-violent resistance through theatre. He founded The Freedom Theatre together with Juliano Mer Khamis, who was assassinated earlier this year by unknown assailants. The Freedom Theatre is a cultural venue in Jenin Refugee Camp, which uses the arts as a form of resistance against oppression.

Zubeidi has become one of the main advocates for non-violent resistance through the arts. As Zubeidi states: “We used armed resistance to represent our case in the Intifada, and then we decided to follow the PA’s amnesty program and give up armed resistance, so then I continued my struggle against occupation through cultural resistance, and The Freedom Theatre is one of the institutions that have my full support.”

No reason has been given for the sudden withdrawal of Zubeidi’s amnesty. The Freedom Theatre regards this as yet another stage in the continued attacks and harassment that the theatre has been facing for several months; including attacks on the theatre and repeated nightly arrests of its members by the Israeli military.

– Whatever reasons the Israeli authorities will give for this cynical turn-around, it further jeopardizes the work of The Freedom Theatre in advocating non-violent resistance and puts Zakaria’s safety at risk. Zakaria has always kept to the conditions of the amnesty whilst supporting a cultural intifada, says Jonatan Stanczak, the third co-founder of The Freedom Theatre.

The Freedom Theatre strongly condemns these actions and wishes to emphasize that Zubeidi’s life is in real danger. The Freedom Theatre urges all its friends to contact the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli DCO in Jenin, the local Israeli representation and parliamentarians to voice opposition to this move and show support to Zakaria Zubeidi.

For more information contact:

Jonatan Stanczak, co-founder and present managing director at The Freedom Theatre: jonatan@thefreedomtheatre, +46 (0)70 7908296

Nabeel al-Raee, artistic director at The Freedom Theatre,, +972 (0)59 996 8673

Zakaria Zubeidi at +972 (0)59 935 8506 (only available sporadically)

Contact numbers:
The Israeli District Commanding Office: +972 (0)4 6407312

Taiseer Shrakah – PA representative: +970 (0)59 980 00 09

Majd Faraj head of Palestinian intelligence : +970 (0)59 777 88 87

Abo Mohammad Shadeh, head of the security of the Presidents office: +970 (0)59 900 0011

Dr Said Abo Ali, Minister of Interior: +970 (0)59 944 75 47

Saeb Erekat Head of negotiations: +970 (0)59 930 38 50

Ataeb Abdurahem, National Security: +970 (0)59 955 88 22

Qadura Mussa, governor of Jenin: +970 (0)59 920 54 79




Creative Resistance to Recent Military Incursions on Jenin Refugee camp!!

Check Out Our Upcoming Performance!

Life Accounts Under Military Rule

At 2pm on Wednesday, January 4th, The Freedom Theatre will stage a second* Playback Theatre event to protest against the ongoing arrests and nightly raids taking place in Jenin Refugee Camp.

Jenin Refugee Camp has recently suffered a higher number of Israeli military incursions and arrests than usual.

In their incursions, the Israeli army typically breaks into homes – blindfolding, handcuffing and removing innocent people who are not suspected or accused of any crime. These people are often beaten, verbally insulted and locked in prison cells without access to any form of legal support. Reports from those arrested and detained speak of inhumane treatment that amounts to torture.

To bring attention to these human rights violations and the broader realities of occupation and apartheid, The Freedom Theatre will hold an interactive forum on January 4th. In this event, community members will share their experiences under military rule. Examples of popular struggle and psychological resistance will also be shared. These testimonies and accounts will be enacted using Playback Theatre – a form of improvisational theatre where audience members volunteer life experiences and watch as a team of actors and musicians instantly transform their accounts into the language of sound, dance, movement, poetry and text.
The event will provide an opportunity for released prisoners and other community members, to communicate their story to one another and to the broader public. The event will also send a clear message to the Israeli government and military, that their actions are being closely scrutinized, recorded and publicized by local and international observers.

For further information call:

Rawand Arqawi, Press Officer on +972(0)599971070
Or e-mail The Freedom Theatre at

* The Freedom Theatre held a Playback performance on December 21st to bring attention to the arrests and detainment of several of its own staff in Jenin refugee camp.

Military invasion in Jenin met by theatre performance today!


Press Release from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp
21 December, 2011
Jenin refugee camp has recently suffered a higher number of arrests than usual. Over thirty arrests have been made in the past month. Last night alone, at least eight new arrests were made during a major Israeli military invasion of the refugee camp. Among the people arrested were three members of The Freedom Theatre, a cultural centre for children and youth.
One of the arrested were Mohammed Saadi, the light and sound technician at The Freedom Theatre:

mmed standing in front of his bedroom door, where the soldiers broke into his house)

“At around midnight soldiers broke down the door to my house, they didn’t even knock. They blindfolded me and my brother and took us up to the mountain behind Jenin camp. There we were shoved into an army jeep. During the approximately half-hour drive to the army base we were constantly abused, physically and orally. The soldiers hit us with their fists and the buts of their machine guns. In the early morning we were released after having been interrogated throughout the night.”

The reason for these arrests remains unclear.

To bring attention to Israel’s systematized practice of military rule and arbitrary arrests, The Freedom Theatre will hold a street performance at 2 pm today (December 21st) near The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp.

We will use Playback Theatre* to enact the stories of those who were arrested. Other related stories may be shared and enacted.

The 2 pm performance will also be a publicity event for The Freedom Bus project. (See attached).

For further information call:

Rawand Arqawi, press officer on +972(0)599971070

Ben Rivers, playback theatre practitioner on +972 (0)592902256

Or e-mail The Freedom Theatre at

Still pictures and video material will be available later in the day.


*Playback Theatre is an interactive theatre approach used in over 50 countries as a tool for community building and community dialogue.  In a Playback Theatre performance, audience members volunteer life experiences and watch as a team of actors and musicians transform these accounts into improvised theater pieces. Playback Theatre helps to foster community strength through the sharing of experiences that remind us of our common humanity and our capacity for courage, creativity and resilience.

Featured Guest: Voice Coach Peter Melin

Peter Melin is a teacher at the Academy of Music and Drama at Gothenburg University in Sweden, where he is responsible for the voice, bodywork, and acting classes. He has spent 2 weeks teaching our students at the Acting School about basic voice, bodywork, implementation of voice warm-ups in their morning routine.
Peters visit was part of an exchange between The Freedom Theatre and the Academy of Music and Drama at Gothenburg University. He has been investigating ways he can share methods between the two curriculum.
This is the second time that Peter has worked with us and it has been a wonderful experience that is now opening new opportunities for the theatre. Peter will be coming to Jenin on a regular basis. He is interested in using his network of Scandinavian voice teachers who would like to be part of a voice program in the Acting school. We hope that soon, we will also have our teachers going to visit Gothenburg University to continue this exchange.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of HSM of Gothenburg University that has been our partner for four years.

Theatre of the Oppressed

Theatre of the Oppressed is a unique theatrical methodology that engages communities in critical inquiry, experiential learning and creative transformation through participatory theatre. Developed by Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal, it is a widely documented approach that has helped achieve significant social and political transformation in countries such as India, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere.  In contrast to verbal debate and didactic presentation of information, Theatre of the Oppressed offers individuals and communities an embodied and creative means through which to actively participate in creating social change.

Over the course of a 3-month seminar, applied theatre practitioner Christine Baniewicz will introduce acting students at The Freedom Theatre to Boal’s cannon of techniques.

Together, we will use the language of theatre to explore the social issues that each of the students feel passionately about. We will rehearse alternatives to oppressions that feel inevitable; we will challenge our perceptions of power. Always working in the spirit of democracy, curiosity, and imagination, we will create short Forum Theatre performances that we will share in January at the end of the seminar. I am thrilled to be working with such talented actors here in Jenin, and am enjoying the opportunity to contribute to the beautiful tome of politically conscious work The Freedom Theatre is famous for.


Christine Baniewicz is a playwright, composer and facilitator of community-engaged theatre. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies and Music Composition from Louisiana State University, and currently coordinates all web-based communications for the traveling theatre-arts organization, ImaginAction. Christine’s original plays and incidental scores have been performed in Louisiana, North Carolina, New York and Northern Ireland. She also gives applied theatre workshops to encourage dialogue and creative transformation around social justice issues. She has worked with actors on rehearsal techniques, educators on integrating drama into the classroom, and at-risk youth both in the US and abroad.