World

Days after concert, Gaza’s sole grand piano seized by merchant who claims ownership

AP

A Palestinian businessman has seized the Gaza Strip’s only grand piano, claiming he owns the instrument, just days after it made its public debut.

The Edward Said Conservatory says the businessman came to its building on Wednesday and took away the piano. It fears the piano, which had been silenced for a decade, is at risk again.

Japan donated the piano 20 years ago to the Palestinian Culture Ministry. The instrument was nearly destroyed in a 2014 airstrike that damaged an abandoned theater where it was stored. Foreign experts restored the piano, and a Japanese pianist performed a landmark concert this week.

Saed Herzallah, the merchant, says he bought the inoperative property in 2011 “with everything on it, including the piano.”

Culture Ministry official Fayez Sersawi accused the businessman of “piracy.”