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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.

Tom Suarez
About Tom Suarez

Tom Suarez is the author, most recently, of State of Terror, how terrorism created modern Israel.

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11 Responses

  1. Les
    July 2, 2012, 11:35 am

    The PLO gets very little for collaborating with Israel and the 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 the International Monetary Fund for the money after discussing the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.

    Sometime after the IMF’s annual conference in mid-April, Fischer asked the body for the loan, which Israel would have taken on the Palestinians’ behalf.

    Israel would then have transferred the money to the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by president Mahmud Abbas, which would have repaid the money to the Israeli government.

    Israel would have remained responsible for repaying the loan to the IMF, under the deal, but the institution eventually declined to make the loan available.

    Haaretz said it turned the proposal down because it feared setting a precedent of making IMF money available to non-state entities, like the Palestinian Authority, which as a non-state cannot directly request or receive IMF funding.

    A senior Israeli official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity confirmed that the details contained in the Haaretz report were accurate.

    The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has been suffering a financial crisis for at least the past year, as pledged funds from Arab nations have failed to materialise, leaving the government unable to pay wages and bills.

    While Israel has at times contributed to the crisis, Palestinian officials say, by suspending the transfer of tax and tariff revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, it is also eager to avoid the security deterioration that could accompany a financial collapse of the government in the West Bank.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is interested in preventing a situation whereby the PA collapses financially, which is liable to have a very negative impact on the West Bank security situation,” an Israeli official told Haaretz.

    On Sunday, Palestinian Authority labour minister Ahmed Majdalani told AFP that the West Bank authority faced its worst financial crisis since it was founded in 1994.

    And he said the government would be unable to pay salaries for the month of July, when the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins, unless urgent action was taken to secure funds.

    • American
      July 2, 2012, 2:14 pm

      LOL…another ponzi scheme.
      Refuse to give the Palestine their own money.
      Insist the US loan Palestine the money to make up for the withheld tax monies due.
      Then Israel ‘loans’ the US money to Palestine which Palestine has to pay back to Israel who pays backs the US….
      While Israel keeps the original Palestine tax money it owed to Palestine.
      LOL….the simplest of Mafia rackets.
      They really do think the world is stupid.

      • Les
        July 2, 2012, 4:41 pm

        And PLO insiders are a big part of the problem since they are as aware of this racket as are the Israelis.

  2. lysias
    July 2, 2012, 11:56 am

    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.

  3. Sumud
    July 2, 2012, 12:58 pm

    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.

    • justicewillprevail
      July 2, 2012, 2:10 pm

      Yes, just another routine display of vindictiveness for no reason, other than persecution of civilians, that Israel is famous the world over for. The obnoxiousness of Israel is on full display, their sadistic, creepy bureaucracy which decrees that classical concerts by Palestinians in their own capital must be prevented from happening – who knows how Israeli can sleep in their beds if they knew that Palestinians can perform some of the European monuments to civilisations that they worship? It could lead to more Jewish trauma and identity crises, after the decades of propaganda and deceit they have indulged in. The world knows that Israel treats the Palestinians like dogs, but what is more revealing is its hatred of any evidence that Palestinians have a culture and a society, and have retained it despite the prolonged and deliberate attempt to crush it mercilessly with their iron fist.

    • talknic
      July 2, 2012, 6:17 pm

      Sumud July 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Is there any essential difference in the following two statements?

      1) “Israel must end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem”

      2) “The occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the pages of time”

      • Sumud
        July 3, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Thanks talknic – excellent point.

  4. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    July 2, 2012, 1:55 pm

    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 London, NYC or some other cultural capital disrupt the performance of an Israeli ensemble.

    • Avi_G.
      July 2, 2012, 2:44 pm

      P.S. – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre should be ashamed of itself.

  5. lysias
    July 3, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Speaking of Ramallah, evidence that Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210 has surfaced. Arafat Death Mystery Solved ? Polonium [210] Found on Personal Items.

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