Posted by: Lister | January 13, 2008

Daniel Barenboim becomes Palestinian Citizen

Israeli pianist Daniel Barenboim has taken Palestinian citizenship:

Daniel Barenboim, the world renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has taken Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his rare new status could serve a model for peace between the two peoples.

“It is a great honor to be offered a passport,” he said late on Saturday after a Beethoven piano recital in Ramallah, the West Bank city where he has been active for some years in promoting contact between young Arab and Israeli musicians.

“I have also accepted it because I believe that the destinies of … the Israeli people and the Palestinian people are inextricably linked,” Barenboim said. “We are blessed – or cursed – to live with each other. And I prefer the first.”

[…] Though he dismissed any wish to play a political role, the former music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra took a dig at Bush’s strikingly forceful call in Jerusalem last week for Israel to end, in the president’s own words, “the occupation.”

“Now even not very intelligent people are saying that the occupation has to be stopped,” Barenboim said.

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.

He is still an Israeli citizen. And, although the first comment (and others) at Haaretz ask for his Israeli passport to be taken away, he gets some support too.

(Via Desert Peace).

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Responses

  1. Amira Hass makes a point regarding what authority the Palestinians have to grant anyone citizenship.

    It could just as well have said that the PA granted Barenboim citizenship of the moon, since the PA has no authority to grant citizenship (or in its more correct definition: Palestinian residency) to anyone. Not to Yasser Arafat, not to Mahmoud Abbas and not to an 80-year-old refugee woman who lives in Ein el Hilweh in Lebanon and continues to miss the almond tree that her grandfather planted in the village of Lubia (today’s Kibbutz Lavi).

    […] It does not even have the power to restore residency to about 400,000 people who were born in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after 1948, and Israel did everything possible over the years so that they would lose their right of residency: It issued injunctions limiting their right to stay abroad, prevented their return from abroad in time, did not take into account those who were not present during the population census of August 1967.

    Tens of thousands of them are living today in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in their homes, in their villages, but without official papers: They had temporary travel documents from various Arab countries when they went to study or work abroad. They returned to their homes as tourists. The temporary documents are no longer valid, and they are prisoners for all extents and purposes in their cities of residence. If they are caught at the checkpoints they will be expelled. Only through an exhausting process of “family reunification,” which is controlled by Israel, can several of them become “citizens” of their homeland. During the past seven years only recently has the process been approved, for about 3,500 people, out of at least 65,000 in a similar situation.

    […] In spite of the wealth of information published in recent years, especially in Haaretz, about Israel’s control of the Palestinian Population Registry, the facts are not absorbed. The PA is seen as a “state” with the sovereign right to grant “citizenship.” For Israelis in particular it is hard to understand the extent of our domination over the Palestinians: After all, every Jew in the world has a right to come to Israel, and within a few days to become an Israeli citizen and to live not only in Israel proper but in any illegal settlement and any illegal and unauthorized outpost.


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