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Who’s Responsible for Threatened Shutdown of Palestinian Theatre in Jerusalem?


In a Reuters story about the impending shutdown of East Jerusalem’s core performance venue, El Hakawati, the theatre company’s problems are put down to a simple matter of money — there just isn’t enough of it. But other commentators, including Abir Kopty, point to how the Israeli government has squeezed the theatre and how closing it down for debt is part of a wider discriminatory process:

hakawatiAccording to a public statement from El Hakawati, director Amer Khalil received a phone call on Thursday morning from the Israeli Enforcement and Collection Authority (ECA). The ECA reportedly notified Khalil of the government’s intention to seize the theatre building in 48 hours for unpaid bills.

The Hakawati has amassed unpaid bills of approximately US$150,000 over the past five years, according to Reuters, with money owed to city hall, the national insurance fund, and the local Israeli electricity company.

Theatre diector Amer Khalil acknowledged political actions against the theatre, but…

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