Famed Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and a European orchestra performed Tuesday in the al-Madha centre in northern Gaza to show solidarity with its Palestinian residents.

Barenboim briefly entered Gaza through the Egyptian border crossing and conducted two pieces by Mozart before a small audience. International performances are rare in Gaza.

Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2007 after Islamic Hamas militants seized control from the Western-backed Fatah but eased the blockade last year.

His visit to the Gaza Strip was in violation of an Israeli law which bans its citizens from entering the coastal enclave.

Barenboim, born in Argentina, grew up in Israel. The conductor is a controversial figure in Israel, both for his promotion of 19th-century composer Richard Wagner - whose music and anti-Semitic writings influenced Adolf Hitler - and vocal opposition to Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories.

In 2008 Barenboim took Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his rare new status could serve a model for peace between the two peoples.