Rami Awni Hwayel, a third-year acting student at the Jenin Freedom Theatre, aged 20, was seized at the Shavei Shomron checkpoint (“roadblock”) between Nablus and Jenin, on August 6. He was on his way back from Ramallah — where he has been in rehearsals for the leading role in the Freedom Theatre’s production of “Waiting for Godot” — and heading for a Ramadan visit with his family.
He is the third person connected to the Freedom Theater, located in the Jenin refugee camp, to be taken into Israeli custody. During a traumatic pre-dawn raid on 27 July, two officials were taken into custody after some 50 or so IDF soldiers, who arrived in jeeps, reportedly hurled rocks and pieces of concrete at the theater building.
The Freedom Theatre’s Juliano Mer-Khamis — an Israeli citizen born to a Jewish mother and an Israeli-Arab-Palestinian father from Nazareth, both members of the Israeli Communist Party — was assassinated by an expert marksman outside the Theatre some three months ago. Juliano lived part of the time in Haifa, and the rest of the time in a house near the Jenin Refugee Camp that was being leased to him by Palestinian ex-militant Zakaria Zubeideh.
The Palestinian Authority has been put in charge of the investigation into Juliano’s murder [with some assistance from Israeli investigations], but no progress has yet been reported. [See our most recent earlier post on this here].
In an email received from the Freedom Theatre this morning, and via Israeli journalists on Twitter, it was mentioned that the IDF had put a “gag order” on Hwayal’s arrest.