- Title: Checkpoint to Tchaikovsky: on tour with Palestine Youth Orchestra
- Date: 27th August 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 19-YEAR-OLD MEMBER OF PALESTINE YOUTH ORCHESTRA, LAMAR ELIAS, SAYING: "This orchestra is unlike any other orchestra in the world. It can't meet or have a show in Palestine. Each time we have to meet in a different city or country, just not in Palestine. Because unfortunately we can't all meet in Palestine. Not in the West Bank, and not even Jerusalem." ELIAS AT HOME, PACKING VIOLIN WEST BANK BARRIER SURROUNDING BETHLEHEM / ISRAELI WATCHTOWER NABLUS, WEST BANK (RECENT) (REUTERS) ROAD SIGN READING (English/Arabic/Hebrew): "Nablus" CITY OF NABLUS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 19-YEAR-OLD MEMBER OF THE PALESTINE YOUTH ORCHESTRA FROM NABLUS, IBRAHIM MASRI, SAYING: "When we go to (the West Bank's) Birzeit or to Ramallah we pass through checkpoints. And especially when you have your musical instrument and get searched, you get asked: 'What is this, why is this with you?' It's always a hassle when you move from one city to another in order to meet." RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (RECENT) (REUTERS) ROAD SIGN READING (English/Arabic/Hebrew): "Ramallah"
- Embargoed: 10th September 2019 12:29
- Keywords: Palestinian music Palestinian musicians Palestinian orchestra Palestinian youth orchestra Palestinian youth
- Location: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS / BETHLEHEM, NABLUS, RAMALLAH AND JERICHO, WEST BANK / MUGHAR, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM / UNKNOWN LOCATION, JORDAN / OSLO, NORWAY
- City: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS / BETHLEHEM, NABLUS, RAMALLAH AND JERICHO, WEST BANK / MUGHAR, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM / UNKNOWN LOCATION, JORDAN / OSLO, NORWAY
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA004ATZV715
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Most international musicians would baulk at the notion of a two-day journey to final rehearsals past military checkpoints on alert for weapons smugglers but for 19-year-old viola player Ibrahim Masri it's an occupational hazard.
He's part of the Palestine Youth Orchestra (PYO), which has been touring Europe for three weeks and whose 76 members - crossing borders and religious divides - include Muslims, Druze and Christians.
They say they cannot gather the full orchestra at home because Israeli restrictions make it too hard to bring together members from Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and refugees abroad.
Israel says its West Bank security measures are to protect its citizens against attacks from suicide bombers and gunmen, which peaked in the Palestinian uprisings of the late 1980s and early 2000s.
Israel has also imposed a blockade on Gaza, whose Islamist militant rulers Hamas refuse to recognise Israel and have fought three wars with it in the past decade.
Ibrahim had to travel two days from Nablus in the West Bank through neighbouring Jordan to reach Oslo, where the tour convened.
With a programme combining traditional classical and Arabic music, the orchestra played dates in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
The orchestra earned standing ovations at the finale in Amsterdam's palatial Concertgebouw, the home venue of PYO conductor Vincent de Kort.
Aged 14 to 27, the musicians on this tour came from Jerusalem, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and inside Israel itself. There were also Palestinian musicians from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and some non-Palestinians. However, unlike on previous tours, nobody from Gaza made this trip, orchestra manager Zeina Khoury said.
(Production: Stephen Farrell, Mohammad Abu Ganeyeh, Ismael Khader, Ashraf Abu Shawish, Dedi Hayun, Adel Abu Nemeh, Sinan Abu Mayzer, Lara Afghani, Rahaf Ruby, Roleen Tafakji, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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