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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Concert unites Arabs and Israelis
Daniel Barenboim
Barenboim founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999
Israeli and Arab musicians have played together at a memorial concert in the West Bank by famed Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Sunday's concert was held in memory of the late Edward Said, who co-founded the West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra with Barenboim in 1999.

The one hundred musicians included Palestinians, Israelis and Syrians, all playing in Ramallah for the first time.

They received a standing ovation from the 700-strong audience.

On Saturday, Barenboim said his orchestra had come to Ramallah to convey a message of solidarity and mutual understanding.

"There are two peoples who have a very deep attachment to this part of the world," he told reporters.

'Normal people'

"Either we all kill each other or we learn to live with the fact that we have to share this land in equality and dignity."

His sentiments were echoed by the young members of his ensemble.

"It's important for the people of our area to know each other," said Tal Reval Theodorou, a 23-year-old Israeli violinist.

"When I got to know the Israelis, I found they were normal people," said 21-year-old Nadeem Hassan, one of 10 Syrians in the orchestra.

"Some of them are creative in their work and I learned a lot from them."

A similar concert scheduled in 2003 was cancelled at the last minute over security concerns.

Barenboim concert thrills West Bank
03 Aug 03 |  Middle East

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