Last week's murder of an Israeli-Arab actor in Jenin, apparently by an Arab linked to both Hamas and Fatah, has aroused a strong mix of emotions.
Juliano Mer Khamis, 52, born of a Jewish mother and Christian-Arab father, was shot to death last Monday by a masked assailant in Jenin.It was clearly a terrorist attack, though not of the anti-Israel type; it was more of the pro-fundamentalist Islam brand.
It seems that Mer had made some enemies in Jenin for founding and operating a liberal theater in which both men and women figured equally, and which often criticized aspects of Palestinian Authority society and government.
Mer happened to have also been a strongly anti-Israel political activist. He declared his support for armed resistance against Israel, praised Ak-Aksa leader Zakaria Zubeidi, and said that a Palestinian state must arise on the entirety of the Land of Israel.
Some called on the international community to pay close attention to the broad-daylight killing, and to realize that a Palestinian state is far from being the open, democratic society that they claim to support – and that Israel so blatantly represents. Hot on the heels of a survey showing that a third of Palestinian Authority residents actually support the massacre of the Fogel family comes a murder that should "kindle red warning lights from Jerusalem to the United Nations," writes Udi Manor in Maariv. "This murder teaches us that… the efforts of [PA prime minister Salam] Fayyad to promote the building of the Palestinian nation are very far from [success]."
Some Israeli artists expressed deep sorrow after the murder, while others noted the hypocrisy in this stance. Prize-winning journalist Kalman Liebskind wrote in Maariv today, "I shed no tears for Juliano Mer's death. Unlike him, who divided the world into bad terrorists and good terrorists, I am repulsed by all murderers, including those who murdered him. But I don't forget for a moment that Juliano Mer was an enemy – my enemy, an enemy of my brother Jews who live here in this land, and an enemy of the entire Zionist enterprise… This is how I related, during his lifetime, to one who supported the 'Palestinian struggle' – a laundered expression for terrorism, murder, blood and bereavement – and I see no reason that this should change after his death."
Almagor: Who Could Do Such a Thing?
" For this reason, too," Liebskind continued, "it was hard not to be filled with scorn in light of the atmosphere of mourning that fell this week upon the media and cultural elite and in light of their crocodile tears… It was only his political positions that enabled Mer, a most violent and crude man, to throw rocks at protestors, to attack the cartoonist Ze'ev, to strangle a woman actor, to punch another one… The director Avi Nesher said this week that he felt as if a family member had died, Amos Gitai said Mer 'believed that he could correct the hatred between the nations'… [Writer] Ruth Almagor actually asked who could possibly 'on the land of Jenin, execute a person in front of his child' – as if she doesn't know precisely who could do such a thing, as if she never heard who his friends were, or about his theatrical student who murdered four women in a terrorist attack in Hadera, or that his good friend is top Al-Aksa terrorist leader Zakaria Zubeidi."
Liebskind concluded: "You look at this crew and have trouble understanding how blind must one be to look down the barrel of a Kalachnikov and think that it's the beak of a white dove."