MIFTAH Strongly Condemns the Killing of Juliano Mer –Khamis
On April 4, director Juliano Mer –Khamis was shot five times and killed in front of the Jenin Refugee Camp Freedom Theater by unidentified masked assailants. The director’s death comes as a shock to Palestinians, who have long honored Khamis for his courage and perseverance in fighting for the cause of justice through art in Palestine.
Juliano Mer-Khamis, who lived in the Jenin Refugee Camp for the past seven years, followed in the footsteps of his parents, a Palestinian-Christian father from Nazareth and a Jewish Israeli mother, Arna Mer, who originally established the theater during the first Intifada.
Mer-Khamis won international fame for, among other works, his documentary film “Arna’s Children” which tells the story of his mother’s journey with Jenin’s children during the difficult and violent years of the Intifada. He was insistent on offering an alternative to the violence of the camp through giving Jenin’s children a venue for creativity and entertainment and by his own example, portraying the possibility of coexistence. During a 2009 interview, Mer-Khamis described himself as “100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish.”
MIFTAH strongly condemns the director’s murder and calls on all relevant parties to seek justice for him and punishment for his killers. Such criminal and violent acts go against the grain of Palestinian morals and values and cannot be tolerated in our efforts to create a democratic and peaceful society.
Mer-Khamis’ death is a loss to the Palestinian art world and to our society as a whole. His vision of freedom through art allowed hundreds if not thousands of young Palestinians to experience something other than the bitter taste of Israel’s occupation. MIFTAH would like to offer its condolences to his wife and children and to all those whose lives he touched. The Freedom Theater is a legacy all Palestinians must ensure will continue in honor of Mer-Khamis’ memory.