Elvis Costello cancels Israel concerts

Elvis Costello Elvis Costello performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival last month

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Singer Elvis Costello has pulled out of two gigs in Israel due to concerns over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The musician, who was due to perform later this summer, said: "Having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act."

Costello said his decision was "a matter of instinct and conscience" and "too grave and complex" to be addressed at a concert.

He apologised to ticket holders and event organisers.

The songwriter also said sorry to Israeli journalists who have interviewed him in advance of the concerts.

'Keenly aware'

"They were of great value and help to me in gaining an appreciation of the cultural scene," he said.

In a statement on his website, Costello explained: "I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.

"I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation."

He added that his decision mean he would be unlikely to receive another invitation to play in Israel, and called it "a matter of regret".

Costello concluded his statement "with the hope for peace and understanding".

The 55-year-old, who is married to Canadian singer Diana Krall, has released more than 40 albums during his career.

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