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Peace concert called off in Israel

A peace concert promoting a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict was called off Sunday after threats were made to Palestinians supporting the event. The New York-based One Voice organization had planned to hold simultaneous concerts in Tel Aviv and the West Bank town of Jericho, with Canadian rock star Bryan Adams in lead billing.

The Jericho concert was called off last week due to security concerns, including threats to blow up the West Bank office of One Voice, said group founder Daniel Lubetzky. On Sunday, the Tel Aviv concert was canceled in solidarity.

“Our mission is not to entertain … It is to mobilize moderate voices,” said Lubetzky, a New York businessman. “If we have to postpone, we have to postpone.”

Organizers of One Voice aim to collect a million signatures from Israelis and Palestinians calling for their leaders to negotiate a final peace settlement by October 2008. The concert was meant to support the signature campaign, with those attending the event – free of charge – required to sign the petition.

Many Palestinians have harshly criticized the organization, which they say is weak in defending Palestinian demands, including the right of return for refugees to the lands they left, or were forced to flee, following the Israeli-Arab war in 1948. Leading Palestinians who initially supported the event have also distanced themselves from it.

Around 600,000 Palestinians and Israelis signed on to support the organization’s call for negotiations to begin between both sides. It also has received support from Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Rhea Perlman, Danny de Vito and Jason Alexander.

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