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Lauryn Hill Cancels Israel Concert, Citing Inability to Perform in Ramallah

 / Updated 
Lauryn Hill performs at the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans in 2014.
Lauryn Hill performs at the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans in 2014. Barry Brecheisen / AP

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TEL AVIV, Israel — R&B star Lauryn Hill said she has cancelled an upcoming performance in Israel because she was unable to organize a parallel concert in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah,” the singer-songwriter said in a statement on her website on Monday. "Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge.”

Ramallah is the capital of the West Bank, territory conquered by Israel in 1967 and that Palestinians see as central to a future state.

Hill, a former member of the Fugees known for songs like "To Zion," "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and "Everything Is Everything," was scheduled to play at the country’s largest open-air venue at Rishon Lezion on Thursday, May 7.

The singer added that she was hoping for healing and equanimity in the region, and "the openness necessary for lasting resolution and reconciliation."

Concert organizers in Israel declined to comment on Hill’s decision, referring NBC News to the singer's statement.

The decision followed a concerted effort by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group to get her to cancel her Israel appearance, although Hill did not mention the campaign.

BDS's co-founder, Omar Barghouti, likened the campaign to the international movement to pressure artists to boycott apartheid-era South Africa.

"Like tens of world renowned performers, Lauryn Hill has chosen to stand on the right side of history, refusing to undermine our nonviolent and morally compelling struggle for freedom, justice and equality," he said.

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— Lawahez Jabari and F. Brinley Bruton

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