Popular activist and filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, was shot and killed near his home in Jenin yesterday, according to JPost. The actor was shot to death in his car by a masked assailant outside the Freedom Theater that he owned and operated. The theater was also the target of a fire bomb in 2009.

Mer-Khamis’ new film, Miral, which stars Freida Pinto, has been the subject of intense controversy since it was released 10 days ago because it depicts the life of a young woman after the Arab-Israeli conflict as told from the Palestinian perspective. The film had already been demonstrated against at the U.N. Mer-Khamis was born to a Jewish mother and a Christian Palestinian father and had become an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.

“Armed struggle is legitimate as long as it’s against an occupier and is done on occupied land,” Mer-Khamis said in a 2009 press conference at his theater. “But if there isn’t history, culture, and art behind one’s rifle, that rifle kills rather than liberates.”

“I’m in favor of a single Palestinian state from the river to the sea,” he said at the same press conference. "If the Jews want to live with us, ahlan wasahlan (welcome).”

Mer-Khamis is survived by his wife who is pregnant with twins, a daughter and a son who was reportedly with Mer-Khamis when he was shot.

[via JPost]