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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Palestinian pardoned by Israel put back on wanted list

  • Published 18:53 29.12.11 Latest update 18:53 29.12.11

Zakaria Zbeidi, the former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin who now runs the Freedom Theater, says he did not know his pardon was canceled.

By Avi Issacharoff Tags: West Bank Jenin Palestinian Authority

Zakaria Zbeidi, the former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin who was pardoned by Israel two years ago, has been added to Israel's wanted list again.

In recent days, Palestinian security services informed Zbeidi that upon Israel's request, he must remain in the Palestinian Authority's detention facilities during all hours of the day and night, otherwise Israel will arrest him.

Zbeidi - Natasha Mozgovaya - December 2005 Zbeidi in Jenin during the second intifada, December 2009.
Photo by: Natasha Mozgovaya

Zbeidi confirmed the report to Haaretz, yet said he did not know why the pardon was rescinded. Last week, Palestinian security forces arrested one of Zbeidi's brothers, along with one of the workers at Jenin's Freedom Theater, which Zbeidi directs.

In the summer of 2007, Zbeidi was among 200 wanted Fatah militants in the West Bank who turned in their weapons, under an arrangement in which Israel grantedthem effective amnesty as a gesture to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. 

In 2009, actor Juliano Mer Khamis founded the Freedom Theater and appointed Zbeidi as its director. Zbeidi also began working as an official in the Palestinian Authority's prisoners division. The theater's founder, Mer-Khamis, was shot and killed last April. The case has not yet been solved.
33-year-old Zbeidi, one of the symbols of the second intifada, also garnered media attention for his relationship with Israeli left-wing activist Tali Fahima.

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