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Israeli Conductor Accepts Honorary Palestinian Citizenship

A world-renowned Israeli conductor and pianist who has championed Palestinian rights has been granted honorary Palestinian citizenship.

Daniel Barenboim says he hopes his acceptance of a Palestinian passport will help promote Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. The 65-year-old announced his new status after holding a concert Saturday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Barenboim says he believes Israelis and Palestinians are inextricably linked.

Barenboim is a regular performer in the Palestinian territories and co-founded an orchestra that brings together young Israeli and Arab musicians to advance the cause of peace.

The Argentine-born musician has stirred controversy in Israel for strongly criticizing Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas. Barenboim also has angered many Israelis by performing the works of Richard Wagner - the anti-Semitic 19th century German composer whose works were popular with Adolf Hitler and other Nazis.

A Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti says Barenboim's passport was approved by the former Hamas-led Palestinian unity government. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the unity government after Hamas seized control of Gaza in June.