47Soul Palestinian singer freed after arrest by Israel
Walaa Sbait was apprehended on Thursday evening as he was documenting far-right Israeli attacks taking place in his hometown of Haifa through his Instagram account.
A number of cities and towns witnessed violent confrontations with Israeli police forces and settlers, including beatings and attacks on Palestinian properties.
Palestinian homes in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Haifa were marked to help identify them before being targeted. Hundreds of settlers attacked Palestinians in the city as Israeli police stood by.
Members of the electronic music group issued a prompt appeal for Sbait’s release on Twitter and launched the campaign #FreeWalaaSbait.
Sbait, whose family was displaced from the village of Iqrit, a Palestinian Christian village 25 kilometres northeast of Acre, is the lead singer of 47Soul and the co-founder of the Ministry of Dub-key project, which combines reggae music with Palestinian traditional sounds.
He was released on Friday, the band announced on Twitter, saying: “our main man and Dabke leader Walaa Sbait has been released after last night’s arrest during a live IG from the streets of Haifa. Thank you for everyone who got in touch .. lets go back to focussing on the bigger picture. Freedom to our people.”
Tensions have flared up following the planned expulsion of 38 Palestinians from the historic neigbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Thursday evening and Friday morning saw further Israeli bombardments of besieged Gaza, which resulted in the killing of at least 122 people, including 31 children.