Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Arts Council of England is funding the production of a pro-Palestinian play based on the accounts of Hamas operatives exiled to Europe, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.
The play, titled The Siege, will be granted £15,000 to fund a 10-city UK tour of the show, telling the story of a 2002 39-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem between IDF troops and Hamas operatives. The plot is based on the recounting of 13 terrorists who were deported to several European cities following the stand-off, all with blood on their hands.
Ibrahim Abayat and Jihad Jaara are the only two of the 13 men who openly acknowledged their involvement with terrorism. Abayat openly admitted to the New York Times
that he shot and killed, along with his men, a female settler near Jerusalem in 2002; Jaara claimed responsibility for kidnapping and murdering a 71-year old Jewish US citizen living in Israel.
Jewish leaders expressed "extreme concern" over the play's funding, issuing a statement to the Daily Mail
mulling over the allotment of taxpayer money for a play deeming terror legitimate.
Zoe Lafferty, the Siege
's co-director, defended the production, telling the Daily Mail
that claims that the play was pro-terrorist were "insulting." She called the production pro-human rights, in place to counter "propaganda...being directed at the Palestinians."
"To have to engage in whether Hamas and the Al Aksa Brigade are terrorists is the wrong question to ask," she said. "That’s just insulting and comes from a very biased misunderstanding of what we’re doing."
The Arts Council confirmed the allotment of the funding.
Addressing concerns raised by Jewish leaders, they claimed censoring the artists' message lies beyond their sphere of influence.