Threatened by cultural defiance, Israel throws dancer in prison | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Threatened by cultural defiance, Israel throws dancer in prison

In occupied Palestine, even dance can land you in prison. Especially if that dance draws inspiration from Palestinian history and heritage.

The arrest, in February, and continued detention without charge of acclaimed dance choreographer Ata Khattab underlines just how threatening Palestinian culture and identity is considered by Israel’s occupation forces.

Dance communities and rights groups across the globe are now calling for the release of Ata, who has been detained in a notorious Israeli prison since a raid on his West Bank home in the middle of the night on 2 February.

Family members and neighbors were awakened by the sound of Israeli soldiers breaking into his family home in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, and calling out Ata’s name at 4 am.

The arrest of Ata, artistic coordinator with the world-renowned El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe, highlights how those who promote Palestinian culture are routinely targeted by the Israeli authorities, say family members and colleagues.

He’s the second generation of his family to be targeted in such a manner. His father, Muhammad Ata Khattab, was imprisoned when Ata was a child.