I have been tasked with assisting with fundraising for the project below. The aim of the project, which is a theatre production and will be screened online, will be to put the Israeli Military Court on trial, in the first instance by focusing on the case of my good friend and UN formally recognised Human Rights Defender, Issa Amro, who is the subject of an Amnesty campaign. The theatre production is a collaboration between Israeli playwright and activist, Einat Weizman and theatre directors, Tommo Fowler and Marius Kolbenstved. Please read background notes below for more details:
In 2016, Issa Amro was indicted by the Israeli military on eighteen counts, with charges dating back six years, for his actions in and around Hebron.
But Issa has led the Palestinian non-violence movement for years, earning comparisons to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi – so what was he accused of?
Insulting a soldier.
Protesting without a permit.
His prosecutor and judge were Settlers from the US – and from the same family.]
This is what passes for ‘justice’ in the occupied territories.
Using documents from the trial, Issa’s own writings, and testimony from other political prisoners, we’ll recreate the events from Issa’s perspective – and put the judicial system itself on trial.
We’ll explore the nature and function of Israeli martial law, its relationship to British colonial practice – and how it might be resisted.
We’ll also look at the play itself as an act of non-violent resistance, and the role of art in imagining and creating revolutionary new realities.
This is the first step.
The next part of the project will be to expand the parameters of the investigation, creating a series of works internationally, exploring the role of other nation states (Norway, the USA…) in creating and facilitating the continued oppression of Palestinians. We’ll also expose the specific treatment of women and children within the military courts.
Issa Amro is a Palestinian activist based in Hebron, who has led a non-violent movement of civil disobedience for years. He is the co-founder of ‘Youth Against Settlements’, and in 2010 was named Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestine by the UN.
Einat Weizman is an Israeli playwright and activist, whose previous play, Prisoners of the Occupation, was banned in Israel and decried by the Knesset as “glorifying terrorism”.
Marius Kolbenstvedt and Tommo Fowler are theatre directors and dramaturgs from Norway and the UK.
This first step of the project has been given a seed commission from the Finborough Theatre, with a performance of the play to be streamed online this summer.
But theatres have been decimated by Covid, and the money we have will only cover about one week of work for two people on minimum
So we’re seeking additional funding for Issa’s travel to London, research of the legal system and its application (working with NGOs and lawyers), the translation of key documents and development of the script – as well as rehearsal and performance costs.
Your support will help us to expose the workings of the occupation, give a voice to
those it tries to silence, and – ultimately – work towards its end.
Small acts can make a big difference.
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