Israel/Palestine: Orchestra prevented from entering Gaza

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Israel / Palestine:
Orchestra prevented from entering Gaza

An international classical orchestra was refused to perform in Gaza after its sole Palestinian member was prevented from entering the Gaza Strip and the orchestra refused to perform without him, writes Association Al Kamandjâti

The Palestinian member of the orchestra, violinist Ramzi Aburedwan, was prevented from entering the Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities and threatened with arrest, despite the fact that all 20 members of the orchestra – including Aburedwan – had secured prior coordination from the Israeli authorities via the General Consulate of France in Jerusalem to enter Gaza.

The orchestra which had been gathered for this specific event had been due to perform as part of a Baroque Music Festival which is taking place throughout Palestine and Israel, supported by the Barenboim-Said Foundation, the General Consulate of France in Jerusalem, the A.M. Qattan Foundation, and the Goethe Institute of Ramallah.

When the orchestra arrived at the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, all of its international members were told they could pass except Aburedwan, who was told that he had travelled to the crossing illegally despite possessing all the necessary documentation. The orchestra refused to enter Gaza without Aburedwan. After being detained at Erez for almost seven hours, Aburedwan was taken to an Israeli police station in Sderot accompanied by his fellow musicians, where he was held for a further two hours.

All members of the orchestra returned to Ramallah where a press conference took place on 17 December 2007 at the Al Kamandjâti Association in Ramallah’s Old City.

The world-famous conductor Maestro Daniel Barenboim, one of the backers of the festival, expressed his deep dismay at a press conference held in Berlin on 17 December 2007.

For more information on Ramzi Aburedwan and the Al Kamandjâti Association, see:  www.alkamandjati.com


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