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WATCH: Palestinians going to Madonna concert stopped by wall

Two brothers from the village of Nil’in got tickets to see Madonna play live in Israel. They started walking to the show, but were stopped by the separation wall built on their lands. “I apologize for being not able to come to your concert for peace,” said one of the brothers.

[UPDATE: I’ve been told the video is inaccessible in the United States, so I’m attaching six screen shots from it at the end of the post for their benefit]

The famous singer chose to perform in Ramat Gan despite being called upon by Palestinian, Israeli and other groups around the world to boycott Israel as long as it maintains an apartheid regime in the occupied territories. To subdue criticism, Madonna invited 600 activists from various peace NGOs to come to the show for free. But activists in Anarchists against the Wall refused the invite, and members in the group stated that they would not come to the show as long as their Palestinian friends are barred from coming too.


To drive home the point, several activists in the group shot a short video, showing Sa’id and Muhammad Amira from the village of Nil’in– which tomorrow will be commemorating four years of struggle against the wall constructed on its land – trying to reach the concert. The two brothers are seen holding tickets to the show, and leaving their village towards the main road to Ramat Gan, until they are forced to stop at the wall. The brothers call upon Israeli soldiers to open the gate, but are left unanswered. Attempts to go to a checkpoint or contact Israeli DCO authorities are all in vain as well.

“Ms. Madonna, I would like to apologize, first, for not being able to come to your concert,” says one of the brothers at the end of the clip, and continues thus:

With all the peaceful songs that you sing for peace, in an apartheid state, it doesn’t help the real peace. Because for me as a Palestinian I cannot get in, because I have been suppressed and oppressed and they don’t give me a permit for anything. And I don’t need a favor from (President Shimon) Peres or from anyone, or fromIsrael. As a human I would like to come to your concert. You can see the Israeli apartheid wall that is double the wall of Berlin and that prevents us from accessing everywhere. We are here in a big prison, in a big jail, and it’s the reality of the situation. It’s not about peace or something – it’s about an apartheid state”

Update: six screen shots from the clip, for people in the US who cannot open it:

The brothers leaving the village (from the clip)

The brothers leaving the village

Running into the wall (from the clip)

Running into the wall

Walking to a chekpoint (from the clip)

Walking to a chekpoint

Returning after being turned down at the checkpoint (from the clip)

Returning after being turned down at the checkpoint

Calling the Israeli DCO and asking for permits (from the clip)

Calling the Israeli DCO and asking for permits

Sending Madonna a message (from the clip)

Sending Madonna a message

Read also:

Madonna invites leftist groups to concert, Anarchists refuse

Visualizing Occupation: Freedom of movement

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    1. naomi

      They tell artists around the world to boycott israel – then cry when they can’t get into israel because of a wall which has protected many israelis from being blown to bits! You couldn;t make it up

      Reply to Comment
    2. Michael W.

      I’m missing something here. Are the resident of Nil’in not allowed to visit Israel (go through the checkpoint)?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ofra

      Yes Michael you are missing and how. To be allowed a permit to cross the checkpoint you have to be over 45 and ask 2 weeks in advance

      Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      Love their optimism and their hutzpa. Hope Madonna enjoys the vid.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Elisabeth

      Comments like Naomi’s make you despair of the knowledge of people of the current situation and the background. Where to start…

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        The background is that in the early 2000s Palestinian suicide bombers were on a weekly basis blowing up buses and restaurants full of Israeli civilians which led Israel to build a wall to prevent suicide bombers from getting in.

        Reply to Comment
    6. DS

      the video won’t play in the u.s. due to a claimed copyright violation

      Reply to Comment
    7. Michael W.

      So is it the wall that bothers them, or the permit issue?

      Reply to Comment
    8. It says the video contains content from WMG — What is WMG…and where did they get a copyright on two brothers from Nilin?

      And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are still people who are still under the misapprehension 1) that Palestinians can pass through checkpoints into Israel without having applied for and been granted a permit by the military commandant and 2) that the Wall protects Israelis from being blown up.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Peter

      I grew up in South Africa during the height of apartheid. “Apartheid” means separateness in Afrikaans. There are so many similarities between the legislated racial separation of citizens in my country during the 1980’s and what is happening in Israel now. A country cannot survive divided. People cannot live as un-equal citizens, some with more rights, others with less.

      I’m also a Jew and most of my great grandparents and their friends and family were murdered in the holocaust. I can understand why Jews are desperate for a safe place to live. But you cannot mix religion and state. Religious nationalism leads to separation between the “chosen” and the “less-important” How can you have a normal country like this?

      The irony is that by defending your safety and security through a religious state, you will ultimately undermine everything you are fighting for until you have nothing left for anyone.

      Reply to Comment
    10. XYZ

      If you oppose a “religious state”, then you must oppose the kind of state of the Palestinians are attempting to set up and the construct of ALL the Arab/Muslims states around Israel. ALL of the them define themselves as Islamic states in which Sharia
      law is to a greater or lesser degree a significant basis for legislation, which inevitably means discrimination against non-Muslims (e.g. refusing to recognize a marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man, restrictions on freedom of worship of non-Muslims, “blasphemy” laws, etc).
      Thus, should the Palestinians finally set up an independent state, they will not be any more “normal” (your term) than Israel is.

      Reply to Comment
    11. XYZ, maybe you never got the memo, but your govt is absolutely down with the idea of all its neighbours being taken over by Islamists. That is why they are all now making “Assad must go” noises. They have always preferred rightist-fundamentalist religious regimes to leftist-nationalist ones, because they are a US satrapy and this is US global policy.

      Reply to Comment
    12. palestinian

      Why would they go to that concert.Is this the new style of normalization ,to stamp “peace” on Zionist funded projects for “co-existence”…yea we want to have peace while we steal your land,shoot your people and occupy you ,and one more thing ,we cant have you back ,we prefer to keep our “Jewish” majority ,wasnt that the whole point of ethnically cleansing !!

      Reply to Comment
    13. Richard SM

      Did she sing “Open Your Heart” from the ‘True Blue’ album for the Israelis?

      How about “This Used to Be My Playground” for the Palestinians? (‘Something to Remember’ album)

      And what about “Borderline” as a general comment?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Elisabeth

      Richard SM: Funny!!

      Reply to Comment
    15. Sascha

      @ PETER: Thank you man! I am German, living in Israel and all I can say: You summed it up perfectly. Nothing, absolutely nothing else to ad to your comment. Very well spoken!

      Reply to Comment
    16. Haggai Matar

      Naomi – I suggest reading the Wall Project I’ve been publishing here on +972 for the past two months. It should give part of the answer. But in short, the basic demand is to end the occupation, and to have the wall running on the green line, the legal border between Israel and the West Bank. Anyway – here’s the link to the project:

      And Michael – the wall and the permit system are highly interlinked. Again – check out the wall project. What bothers people is the occupation, the wall and the permit regime.

      Reply to Comment
    17. dianab

      Thank you, Brant Rosen, for the link to the video!

      Reply to Comment
    18. Arab ( Tamimi )(( son of abraham and I am proud ))

      The Jews had built the wall because they’re scared , scared from everything specially the muslims … they can’t fight with the muslims because we are scary to them , only if they had (( Walls )) to protect them then they can fight us

      I took this knowledge from the quran by the way

      The problem is that nowdays Jews are not truly the sons of Israel (( Jacob peace be upon him )) , 90% are from a Kazarian ancestry … sooooo only 10% from the Jews are the true sons of Israel ????! , they’re not even from Abraham ancestry !!?

      well , the funny part that most of the Arabs are from Abraham ancestry 🙂 , and they’re a few muslims from Israel ancestry !!

      Reply to Comment
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