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Israeli police say singing event was organized to 'sympathize with terrorists'

Dec. 8, 2016 9:14 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2016 3:05 P.M.)
(Photo credit: Ahmad Jalajil)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the Palestinian National Theatre in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Thursday evening, preventing organizers from holding an event titled "Sing with Us" for allegedly being organized by the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in order to "sympathize with terrorists."

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli special forces, police, and intelligence raided the theater, also known as al-Hakawati Theater, during the event, which was organized by the Milad Fund for University Education.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy signed an order on Thursday “to prevent holding a conference for the terrorist PFLP group,” citing Article 9 of the newly minted anti-terrorism law of 2016 -- that members of Israel’s parliament have referred to as "draconian and unacceptable.”

“The chief's decision was made after receiving intelligence information that the aforementioned terrorist group plans to hold a conference in order to sympathize with terrorists and other issues,” al-Samri’s statement continued.

“After the decision, a police unit headed to the designated place in East Jerusalem and prevented the holding of the conference without any exceptional incidents.”


The Israeli law, which was passed in June, includes a provision expanding the definition of terrorist organization membership to include “passive members” who are not actively involved in any group, but can now be indicted by Israeli authorities. It applies only inside Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, but not the occupied West Bank.

Head of the Joint List of Israel’s parliament Ayman Odeh said at the time of the legislation’s passage that it will damage Israel's security cooperation with the PLO and Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, pointing out that Israel considers the majority of political parties within the PLO -- including the PFLP -- to be terrorist organizations.

For Palestinians, the PFLP -- founded by a Christian doctor, George Habash -- is the most popular political faction for secular leftists.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported last year that al-Hakawati, after operating for three decades as a leading cultural center for Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, faced closure by Israeli authorities as a result of unpaid bills to the Jerusalem municipality amounting to $150,000, citing Palestinian commentators who believed Israeli authorities were pressuring the theater in order to “marginalize Arabic cultural and arts institutions.”
(Photo credit: Ahmad Jalajil)

(Photo credit: Ahmad Jalajil)

(Photo credit: Ahmad Jalajil)
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