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Barenboim blasts Israel over ban

December 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

Conductor Daniel Barenboim criticized Israel on Monday for preventing a Palestinian musician from entering the Gaza Strip for a concert.

Barenboim said his group of about 20 musicians from England, the United States, France and Germany, as well the Palestinian musician, had been authorized by Israeli authorities to travel to Gaza for a baroque music festival, where they were to play Sunday.

But the musician was stopped at the Israel-Gaza border and informed he needed individual permission to enter. The group was held for seven hours at the border, then canceled its concert in solidarity.

"A baroque music concert in a Roman Catholic church in Gaza -- as we all know -- has nothing to do with security and would bring so much joy to people who live there in great difficulty," said Barenboim, who for years has been critical of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.

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