Veteran British rocker Roger Waters — co-creator of the legendary Pink Floyd album “The Wall” — performed before tens of thousands of Israeli fans on Thursday, while calling on Israel to tear down massive concrete blocks walling off parts of the West Bank.
An estimated 50,000 gathered in a hastily prepared outdoor venue for the concert next to the Jewish-Arab village of Neveh Shalom in central Israel.
Just before the end of the concert, Waters addressed his audience. “I believe we need this generation of Israelis to tear down the walls and make peace with their neighbors,” he said, setting off a round of cheers.
In the hours before the performance, cars were backed up for many miles in all directions in one of Israel’s biggest-ever traffic jams.
Waters, 62, refused to appear in the usual sites for outdoor concerts in Tel Aviv, citing his opposition to Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, agreeing in the end to the field about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
‘Hard to comprehend’
On Wednesday, after arriving in Israel, Waters visited a section of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier running through the Palestinian town of Bethlehem and spray-painted a line from his famous album, reading “No thought control,” on the towering concrete blocks.
“It fills me with horror,” Waters told reporters at the site. “You can see photographs of something like this, but until you’ve seen the actual edifice itself and seen what it’s doing to these communities ... It’s hard to comprehend that they could be doing this.”
Israel says it is building the wall to keep out Palestinian attackers. Suicide bombers have killed more than 500 Israelis and maimed many more since the September 2000 outbreak of fighting between the sides.
Palestinians denounce the obstacle as a front for grabbing territory they claim for a future state.
Israel says the half-finished, 470-mile barrier will be 95 percent electronic fence and only 5 percent wall when complete.