Arrest Of Palestinian Choreographer Prompts Questions Over Israel's Deliberate Targeting Of Palestinian Art Scene

Published March 3rd, 2021 - 07:18 GMT
Palestinian dancer and choreographer Ata Khattab
Israel has been deliberately targeting Palestinian cultural centers in the West Bank. (Twitter: @SouzanNaser)

Even though Palestinian dancer and choreographer Ata Khattab has been arrested by Israeli forces from his home in Al-Bireh near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank a month ago, his name continues to make headlines as activists and social media users express their protest of his "arbitrary arrest," especially that no charges have been pressed against him thus far.

Ata Khattab, a member of a dance troupe performing traditional Palestinian dances including the well-known Dabkeh has been held without trial or charge.

Several human rights organizations have expressed their concern that Khattab might be facing torture based on the fact that he has been held in the notorious detention center near Jerusalem- Al-Moscobiyeh, known for abuse against Palestinian political prisoners.

In addition to being one of the famous performers at El-Funoun, Khattab is the director and primary choreographer of its youth program, through which he mentors younger dancers.

Calling for his release besides a number of other Palestinian cultural activists, who have been arrested by Israel with no trials, social media users launched the hashtag #FreeAtaKhattab, urging the international community to exert every effort into "stopping Israeli violations and targeting of Palestinian culture."

Over the last several months, Israel has been deliberately targeting Palestinian cultural centers in the West Bank, including the Yabous Cultural Center and Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, which was raided last July; many of it documents and equipment were confiscated after detaining the centers’ directors.

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