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Call for solidarity after arrests following raids on Palestinian cultural centre in Jerusalem

PALESTINIAN solidarity organisations have called on “all artists of conscience” to speak out after Israel forces raided and arrested the leaders of a Jerusalem cultural centre on Wednesday.

Occupying forces ransacked the Yabous Cultural Centre (YCC), seized property and arrested the centre’s director, Rania Elias, and her husband, Suhail Khoury, who is the director of the National Music Institute.

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network (Samidoun) described the move as part of “an ongoing attempt to shut down Palestinian institutions and eradicate Palestinian culture and existence in Jerusalem.”

Israeli security services also detained Daoud al-Ghoul, director of the Jerusalem Arts Network, in another raid.

The YCC is a Palestinian cultural institution in occupied Jerusalem which organises film screenings, theatre performances, and other cultural events celebrating the city’s deep Palestinian heritage.

The organisations targeted have expressed support for the Palestinian National Campaign to Reject Conditional Funding — an organisation which opposes financial restrictions on any individual or organisation linked to a political party.

The campaign slammed the attacks as “a form of intellectual and cultural terrorism practised by the occupying power [Israel] against Palestinian existence and identity in Jerusalem.”

Samidoun said the raids “come hand in hand with the pursuit of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Jerusalem through home demolitions, land confiscation, extrajudicial killings and residency revocations in an attempt to erase the Palestinian and Arab character of the city.

“The arrests … make clear that Israel is once more escalating its attacks on Palestinian cultural institutions and Palestinian culture itself in the city. We urge all artists of conscience to speak out and join the call for their immediate release.”

It called for people to back the immediate release of the arrested with photos, performances and statements, and a cultural boycott of Israel.

Contact the group at samidoun@samidoun.net, or on Facebook, with details of statements and actions taken.

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