Palestinians Protest Waters' Israel Show
Palestinian artists have appealed to former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters to cancel a concert in Israel out of solidarity with their fight against the West Bank barrier.Palestinian artists have appealed to former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters to cancel a concert in Israel out of solidarity with their fight against the West Bank barrier.
Waters, a vocal critic of the 600 km (370 mile) network of fences and concrete barricades going up in and around the occupied territory, surprised many in the Middle East by agreeing to perform in Tel Aviv on June 22.
Concert promoter Shuki Weiss said Waters was persuaded to come to Israel after it pulled out of the Gaza Strip last year in a move billed as breaking a deadlock in peacemaking.
But a group of Palestinian artists said today (March 9) they had written a letter to Waters this week warning the concert may undermine lobbying against the barrier, which has been globally condemned for effectively annexing swathes of West Bank land.
Israel calls the barrier a bulwark against suicide bombers spearheading a more than five-year-old Palestinian revolt.
"How can someone who wants to look like a leftist in the world -- fighting against the Berlin Wall, for open borders, and for love between people -- come to Israel while they are still building their wall and hold a musical event?" Sliman Manour of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art, told Reuters.
Mansour, one of the signatories of the letter, said it called on Waters to cancel the concert or at least put on another performance for Palestinians. The musician has indicated he opposes an anti-Israel boycott.
"I would not rule out going to Israel because I disapprove of the foreign policy any more than I would refuse to play in the U.K. because I disapprove of [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair's foreign policy," Waters told Britain's Guardian newspaper.
Palestinians consider the barrier's towering barricades, especially where they cut through Arab East Jerusalem, as a salient symbol of independence hopes dimmed by Israel. Israeli officials have said that just 6 percent of the finished barrier will be wall, and that the project could be rerouted or torn down if violence ceases and peace talks resume.
Such assurances have been heard little, however, since Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to the Jewish state's destruction, swept to power in Palestinian elections on Jan. 25.
Yet Weiss said that Waters had been encouraged by the Gaza pullout and felt that peace should still be given a chance while staying firm in his opposition to the West Bank barrier. "His message is about peace and coexistence, that walls should be replaced by bridges," Weiss said.
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