Sharif, who uses only one name, said he was expecting to perform before thousands of Palestinian fans at a new Year’s Eve concert in Ramallah, the west Bank administrative capital, but he was told the day before that his concert was being canceled because of a threat to his life.
“I’m an artist and I want to sing before all audiences,” said Sharif, a member of Israel’s Arab Druse minority who sees himself as a bridge between the two sides. “I’m a man of peace, not politics. I just want to bring my music to my fans.”
Palestinian activists campaigned against his concert because he has performed before Israeli soldiers.
Palestinian police said the decision to cancel the show was based purely on security concerns. They said once they became aware of the opposition, which was organized in a Facebook campaign, they ordered the concert canceled.
“when we see people bracing to bar a controversial party like this, we interfere to prevent any tension or violence,” said Adnan Damari, a police spokesman.
Sharif said he separates his performances from politics, noting he has played in the West Bank and Gaza before and dreams of performing in Syria and Lebanon.
“I’m surprised that this was done against me — I belong to both sides,” said Sharif, 32, who performed earlier last year in the West Bank. “I’ve got to get back there and I hope it happens soon.” the Druse sect is part of the larger Israeli-Arab minority.
It wasn’t the only controversy in Ramallah on new Year’s Eve.
Palestinian singer Basel Zayed was prevented from completing his concert after he performed a song that mocked the Palestinian leadership. Under pressure from Palestinian police, organizers shut down the event.
The new Year’s incidents follow two other events in which Israeli-Palestinian dialogue meetings were thwarted because of Palestinian pressure. the activists behind the move oppose any “normalization” between Palestinians and Israelis as long as peace talks between the sides are deadlocked. Negotiators sat down in Jordan Tuesday for their first meeting in 15 months.
“the movement in Jerusalem will always demonstrate against any joint meeting as long as the peace process is stalling,” said Hatem Abdel Qader, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Jerusalem affairs.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the meetings were local initiatives — his government was not involved and did not oppose them. even so, among the Palestinians who objected to the Israeli-Palestinian meeting were senior members of Abbas’ Fatah movement.
Palestinian activists have long called for boycotts of Israel, hoping such pressure will achieve what years of negotiations and violent uprisings have not: end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem and bring about creation of a Palestinian state.
In recent years, the Palestinians have scored several small victories, persuading some European pension funds to divest themselves of firms involved in West Bank settlement construction, for example. several international artists, including Elvis Costello and the Pixies, have canceled performances in Israel to protest Israeli policies.
Another band, Boney M, was ordered by Palestinian concert organizers not to sing its hit “Rivers of Babylon,” which quotes a biblical passage referring to the Jewish people’s yearning to return to the biblical land of Israel.
Israel says the economic impact of the boycott campaign has been negligible and accused the activists of promoting hatred against the Jewish state.
Yossi Kuperwasser, the director general of Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, said “anything happening to promote peace,” such as musical performances or academic conferences, “should be accepted by the Palestinians.” instead, he said the cancellation of such events reflects a campaign by the Palestinians to delegitimize Israel.
“They don’t accept Israel as a Jewish state as a fact, let alone its right to exist,” said Kuperwasser, whose office monitors what it says is incessant incitement against Israel in Palestinian society.
Mohammed Daraghmeh contributed to this report from Ramallah, West Bank.
There is a song that noted soul singer Aretha Franklin sings. It is called RESPECT. and even if you do not like her particular brand of music, you should keep the song and its title in mind if you are looking to buy a loft or condo. as in: Respect your neighbor. That is one of the keys to a positive urban living experience.
The reality of living in lofts and condos is that your neighbors are nearby. They may be on two sides of your unit, as well as above and below. and there is probably another one just across the hallway. You may not want to sit down for dinner or a drink with your neighbors, but having a hostile relationship with them almost ensures a negative experience for everyone.
Remember, you probably do not have the luxury of choosing your neighbors. If you are buying a loft or condo, you may be able to arrange to meet them beforehand. On the other hand, if you already live in one, you do not have much control over who buys that vacant condo or loft across the hall. but you can start the relationship on a positive note. Walk across the hall and introduce yourself. Bring over cookies or brownies. Help them move in some of their stuff. by developing a good relationship in advance, you will be able to deal with problems that may arise – they play their music too loud or let their dogs bark, or they talk loudly in the hallway or slam their doors.
When people live in such close proximity to one another, issues are bound to arise. The key to avoiding a nasty situation is to address issues before they get too big. Talk to your neighbor if his music or dog bothers you. He may simply not have realized you could hear it. by the same token, do what you can to address any concerns neighbors have about you. If it is your practice to sing in the shower every morning but your neighbor tells you it wakes her up, consider belting out the tunes at a lower volume.
If you have tried to do with your neighbors but they are unresponsive, then you should consider talking to the loft or condo management association. there may be a part of the bylaws that the association can use to change behaviors. but go to such authorities only as a last resort and, certainly, only after you have approached your neighbor with your concerns. Remember, though, that you paid good money to live where you live. You have every right to do what you need to do to make it as comfortable of an environment as possible. Just make sure you go about it the right way.