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Ramallah Orchestra’s performance of ‘Eroica’ in Jerusalem is cancelled due to Israeli interference

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half ramallah orch 30 june 2012 st anne 600p
Half the Ramallah Orchestra, last Saturday night, at St Anne Church

The Ramallah Orchestra, an initiative of the music conservatory Al Kamandjati, was to perform a free concert at Saint Anne Church in East Jerusalem on Saturday night, 30 June. The concert was organized with the assistance of the French Consulate, and would have built upon previous, highly successful Al Kamandjati concerts at the church.

On the morning of the concert, Al Kamandjati was forced to cancel it.

st anne church door1
Church door, with concert announcement

Approximately half of the international ensemble’s musicians are Palestinians. Israel, which militarily occupies East Jerusalem under a de facto annexation not recognized by international law, blocks these musicians from entering East Jerusalem unless it grants them a special permit. Despite every effort to follow Israel’s requirements, none of the Palestinians were given the permits, and so all were prevented from reaching the concert.

In consideration of the many audience members who could not have learned of the cancellation, the remaining musicians of the Ramallah Orchestra, along with conductor Diego Masson, nonetheless continued to Saint Anne Church.

At concert time, to welcome the seated audience, a string quartet comprised of four young Palestinians of 1948 (Palestinians of Israeli citizenship) performed Carlos Gardel’s Por Una Cabeza.

Three orchestra members then read aloud the following statement in Arabic, English, and French :

Good evening.

Tonight we had planned to play a fabulous program for you: the overture to Rossini’s opera ‘The Italian in Algiers’, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, and the great Eroica Symphony, the third symphony of Beethoven. But we are very sorry that we are unable to play our concert.

The four musicians that you just heard are Palestinians of 1948. The core of our ensemble, about half our musicians, are Palestinians from the West Bank. These Palestinians must secure Israeli permits to enter here, even though Israel’s de facto annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by international law. As of this morning, none of our colleagues’ permits had been granted. We are not an orchestra without these musicians, but we stand here tonight in solidarity with them.

We again express our deepest regret that we are prevented from playing our concert for you tonight.

Thank you, on behalf of all the musicians of the Ramallah Orchestra.

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The PLO gets very little for collaborating with Israel and the US.as the following shows: Israel sought $1 billion IMF loan for Palestinians By Agence France-Presse Monday, July 2, 2012 8:38 EDT Israel sought a $1 billion IMF bridging loan for the Palestinian Authority earlier this year, but was turned down, an Israeli newspaper said Monday in a report confirmed to AFP by a seniorIsraeli official. Haaretz reported that Israel’s central bank chief Stanley Fischerapproached… Read more »

I wonder if they allow performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio in Israel. (Galina Vishnevskaya, the Russian soprano, says in her autobiography that, whenever the Bolshoi Company performed Fidelio, she and the other members of the cast regarded the performance as a protest against Stalin’s prisons.)

As a matter of fact, I have been troubled by the scarcity of performances of Fidelio in this country in the years since 9/11.

When Khameini says the zionist entity will vanish from pages of time (or whatever) I can only nod in agreement.

It’s pretty much bad news all the time from Israel these days, and it’s not just at places like MW. Such pettiness, such vindictiveness, *so* ugly, and on full display for the world to see.

Well we see it.

As of this morning, none of our colleagues’ permits had been granted. We are not an orchestra without these musicians, but we stand here tonight in solidarity with them. We again express our deepest regret that we are prevented from playing our concert for you tonight. Thank you, on behalf of all the musicians of the Ramallah Orchestra. Keep this in mind the next time an Israeli official pulls the “anti-semite” canard when protesters in… Read more »

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