Actor and director, Juliano Mer-Khamis-the son of a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father was murdered by Palestinian terrorists
on Monday April 4th 2011. He was shot 5 times at point blank range in his car
in Jenin on the West Bank.
Juliano was a very talented actor and producer. His future in acting and directing was
assured. However, he felt that his place was in Jenin in the West
Bank working with young Palestinian children and youth. He
established the Freedom Theater and continued his mother, Arna Mer-Khamis's
legacy, in teaching Palestinians to act as well as the culture of acting in
order to help them come to terms with the Israeli occupation.
Jule, as the Palestinians called him, was very devoted to the Palestinian cause. His mother
was Jewish and his father was a Christian Arab from Nazareth. He viewed himself as 100% Jewish
and 100% Palestinian.
Jule was a rare mix and a man of peace. He hated the occupation because of what it has done to both Israelis and Palestinians. He believed that the occupation is immoral.
He had no sympathy for the settlers nor did he have anything in common with extremist
Palestinian ideology. Perhaps this is the reason why he was assassinated. He
He taught acting skills to the Palestinian youth. He seemed to be admired and loved by
all. Apparently this is not entirely correct. He was a freethinking progressive
humanist believing in coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.
Today the Arab people in the Middle East are fighting for
democracy and human rights in their society as well as equality before the law.
As mentioned in my previous articles, the Arab uprising is not about Israel which
has always been a uniting factor in the Arab world. The Arab dictators had
always kept the fire of hate for Israel as a mantra to maintain
their own stability and to oppress their own people.
The Arab uprisings against their own ruthless dictatorships are part of the process for democracy
and human freedom.
If this is the case, their message has not reached Palestine
in its entirety. There are still Islamic extremists in Palestinian society that
are using the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a mantra to maintain a semblance
of unity. This unity serves the extremists in Palestinian society – the hate
which had been common place since its establishment in 1948 and which is manipulated
by Hamas and its terrorist allies. As far as they are concerned Israel is
Jule was part of the spirit of equality, human rights and democracy. He was the embodiment of freedom, progress as well as equality of the sexes.
Despite all positive qualities that he had and the Freedom Theater that he had established, there
are still hard core conservatives in Palestinian society that wished his death.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their extremist Islamic allies are groups that are
against Palestinian progress. They still hold much power especially in Gaza and it is difficult to assess their power in the West Bank. Jule was a thorn in their flesh. He had been
subjected to death threats and even his Freedom Theater was vandalized. Jule's
progressive ideology was too much for them. He paid the ultimate price by being
murdered in cold blood. He had imbued his students with freedom and equality.
This was in keeping with the spirit of the Arab arising but not in keeping with
Hamas and their extremist ideologues.
He was loved by all peace people - Palestinians and Israelis. Maybe his mixed identity was not
what the racist Islamic groups in Palestinian society wanted. They viewed him
as a threat to their potential hegemony and murdered him.
This tragedy is a loss to both Palestinians and Israelis who believe in peace, coexistence, democracy and human rights.
Apart from sporadic condemnation for his tragic assassination, the left in Israel has
remained relatively silent. If he had been murdered by Jewish extremists, the
left would have been stronger in their condemnation. It seems as if Palestinian
extremists have poetic license to kill even a true democrat on their side. It
will take a long time, if ever, before the spirit of the Arab uprising reaches
the hardcore religious extremists in Palestine
with their vitriol towards those who are different. The Israeli occupation is
blamed for almost everything even if it is the fault of the Hamas regime
itself. The murder of Jule emphasizes this fact and it rings true today.
Here was a man of mixed Palestinian-Israeli blood that tried his best to build bridges of
peace between the two peoples. Instead Palestinian racist extremists felt it
their duty to spill his blood because of their bloodlust directed at those who
It seems that all peacemakers, irrespective of whether they are Palestinians or Israelis, are under threat from Hamas and their extremist factions.
We must not allow their evil ideology of racism and hate to move us from the sacred cause of
democracy, tolerance, peace and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.
We must also support the fight for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. This would be the best way that we could
honour this incredible man.
I agree!!!! Zionism does not entitle anyone to evict others from their home.....
But teh question still remains
Do you support in the right for a Zionist state to exist in the mideast? Or if it is easier a Jewish state? Or what about the state of Israel?
My preference is for a One State Solution, but I don’t live in the area, so I think that my preference is not so relevant.
The highest priority is the refugees. Discussion of the refugee problem is usually avoided....However, the area will remain unstable so long as there are significant numbers of refugees living on the fringe.
To – partly - answer your question Jeff, I think the time for the Zionist State has come and gone. It was the kind of utopian idea that should have evolved into stable, secular government.
The Zionist leadership always pushed for the impossible, they passionately wanted ALL of Palestine, but were unable to attract a population that was a Jewish MAJORITY. Serious complications occurred when the Zionists pushed for extended borders that included a substantial Arab population, which if left in place, would have voted the Zionists out of government the next time there was an election, thus restoring the country to an Arab State. This is why the Arabs were forced from their homes, and never allowed to return.
Check my other comments on Count Bernadotte, below. His plans would have created 2 States, one with an Arab majority, one with a Jewish majority. The only problem left would have been the egotistical ambitions of the Zionist leadership, who craved a bigger country.
To get back to your question, I would say I am more concerned about Arabs being treated badly than whether or not the State is Zionist.
I agree the refugees are huge problem but the question is why are they still in refugee camps? 65 years ago there were 10's of millions displaced refugees, the only ones remaining refuge status from them are Plalestinians..... Why are the Palestinain refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza? Why not build them houses and settle them like ALL the other refugees... The reason is politics, its more difficult for a settled refugee to stake claims of return if they have a new home. A bit sad to make people suffer for politicsl gains... When Jewish refugees were expelled from Arab countries in the 40's and 50's, Israel quickly settled them...no reason why Arab countries can't do the same...
I undrstand you have a concern about Arabs treated fairly in a Jewish State. But, I would like to ask you in what country in the Mid-east do Arabs (or even bettr Palestinians) have more rights then then Arab citizens of Israel, the Jewish zionist state? Syria? Jordan? Lebenon? Egypt? the PA?
I think we al know the answer...
Refugees return to their homes when the war is over – they usually walk, and camp out on the way. They can return is because they will no longer be shot at, or killed.
Only a proper peace settlement will end the refugee crisis.
Refugees quickly disappeared at the end of WW2, because they could safely move across huge areas of Europe.
The Israel/Palestine war (in this case read: occupation) has to end for the refugee crisis to end.
It is not dignified for you to blame the victims, and shows a lack of respect for the victims when you do so. You should find a more creative way to discuss this problem.
I am not blaming the vicims, I am saying the victims are being used by goverments as pawns... why have they not been settled in Lebenon... Why has teh PA not built houses for refugees in the West Bank or Gaza?
Refugees are re-settled that is what happened to the tens of millions 60 years ago, why are the Palestinians not?
Lebanon did not create the refugee problem, Israel did. Lebanon considers the refugees a liability and a risk.
The refugees do not want houses in refugee camps, they want them in the places where they used to live. Israel is the only country who ever said the refugees could not live there anymore, and Israelis are the only ones who prevent the refugees from returning.
The PA had an appetite for corruption. They were not an elected body, and should not have had UN authority to handle the cash they acquired.
In any case, the PA never had the land to put the houses on, nor sufficient money to build anything of substance, and if by some fanciful chance they had those assets, Israel would never have let the steel and concrete in.
Israel did not create the Jewish refugee problem from Arab countries but they settled refugees, France, UK, US, Australia, Canada etc... - did not create the refugee problem but they still settled refuges after WWII....
"The refugees do not want houses in refugee camps, they want them in the places where they used to live." - they should be moved out of the camps or be let out, they are in prisions and be allowed to resettle - no one wants to be homeless for 60 years, no one!
"In any case, the PA never had the land to put the houses on, nor sufficient money to build anything of substance, and if by some fanciful chance they had those assets, Israel would never have let the steel and concrete in" - really as far as I remember they are building a new city in the west bank - its just not for refugees...
This is a horribe way of making sure people suffer for political gain and should be condemed
It is a great pity that the article that I wrote has some how created a discussion that has been going on since Israel was established. I am sure that what has been said here has been said over and over again on other forums. There is no end to it and it also does not serve the course of peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Both sides unfortunately have their mantras or holy cows if you like and my earlier comment as an answer to Sussan's first post has explained it. I know one thing that and that is that Juliano had sacrificed a lucrative career in order to help his people which is very honourable. He met his untimely end in tragic circumstances by a Palestinian who has his own programme whatever that may be. One thing for certain is that whatever his programme it certainly is not supportive of the Israeli occupation or the Israeli settler movement. In view of the tragic circumstances of his death, it would not be appropriate to use his death as a stimulus for the age old mantras to be aired from both sides of the conflict. If I may add a small postcript and advise both of you to watch the You Tube Movie, "Arna's Children" which Juliano had directed. This is a great legacy to both peoples and also a message.
The discussion that has evolved is neither good nor bad. It is a reflection of reality, as seen by different people.
The real tragedy is that so many people have to repeat themselves over and over, without a result of any kind...
Bide you time, Jeff is sure to come along with a timely interpretation that will open the door for me to respond in my usual style !
In 1948 there was another tragic assassination. This assassination was in Jerusalem; Count Bernadotte, the UN mediator for Palestine was murdered whilst going about his official duties.
The wiki article below details his proposals for 2 States, and I think they were probably the only plans that would have worked. This wiki article is the first time I have happened across a good summary of his plans. The whole article is easy to read and even entertaining, and not too long. Please have a look.