Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim to perform with orchestra in Gaza
European musicians will enter Gaza with Barenboim through Egypt-Gaza border crossing after concert coordinated in secret with the UN, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Renowned Jewish conductor and Palestinian rights activist Daniel Barenboim will perform with an orchestra of European musicians in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
According to the report, the concert was coordinated in secret with the United Nations until invitations were distributed earlier this week, and would mark a rare solidarity visit from a major international cultural figure to the blockaded Palestinian territory since Hamas went into power in 2007.
Musicians from across European countries such as Germany, Austria, France and Italy have been enlisted for the Barenboim's project, and he has even, according to the WSJ, assembled an outfit dubbed the "Orchestra for Gaza."
According to French news agency AFP, the orchestra will fly from Berlin to Egypt and then cross the border into Gaza for the concert.
"We are very happy to come to Gaza. We are playing this concert as a sign of our solidarity and friendship with the civil society of Gaza," Barenboim said in a statement released by the UN.
His visit to the Gaza Strip will violate an Israeli law which bans its citizens from entering the coastal enclave.
Barenboim, an Argentine-born Jew who was raised in Israel, and has Israel citizenship, took Palestinian citizenship in 2008 and said he believed his rare new status could serve a model for peace between the two peoples.
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.
Along with the late Palestinian academic Edward Said, he co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of young musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab countries.