Madonna rejects calls for Tel Aviv Eurovision boycott

The Eurovision 1957 presenter and her assistant during the voting

Australian contestant Kate Miller-Heidke is through to the finals.

"I'm happy to say that within a matter of minutes we managed to overcome the attack", he said in an interview with Israeli army radio.

Hamas, a Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, had no immediate comment.

Earlier this month it engaged in three days of fighting with Israel that included hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli air strikes in the enclave.

Madonna intends to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv, Israel, this weekend, despite calls by activists for her to boycott the event, the singer said Tuesday.

Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in the exchanges.

The ten finalists will participate in the Grand Final this Saturday alongside the ten countries who will qualify in the second Semi-Final tonight, and the six pre-qualified countries- the "Big Five" (France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom) and host country Israel.

Last year's victor was Israeli entrant Netta Barzilai with the song "Toy", which went on to top the Billboard dance club chart in the USA in August, a first for an Israeli singer.

The Like A Prayer singer said: "I'll never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be".

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'We are negotiating now, in the final stage of that - but if there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage'.

Kathy McCabe is in Tel Aviv as a guest of SBS.

"The protesters are concerned that whole of Israel needs to be seen as an occupying force and it should be boycotted in its entirety", he added.

"Israel's been flouting global law, and human rights lie trampled on the floor".

The BDS - modelled after the South African anti-apartheid movement - was formed in 2005 by more than 200 Palestinian civil society organisations, urging non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with global law.

Calls for her to boycott were led by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who released an open letter asking her to "not undermine" the Palestinian struggle for "freedom, justice and equality".

Demonstrators have vowed to continue their protests throughout the week's event.

"The pro-Israel lobby is exerting a lot of effort to make Eurovision 2019 a success", said Abu Ghosh.

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