STEVIE WONDER has axed his appearance at an upcoming fundraising concert for Israeli soldiers and their families.
The music icon, who serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, had been due to perform at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala in Los Angeles on 6 December (12).
However, Wonder has now pulled out of the show because of ongoing conflict in the Middle East and rising tensions between Israel and Palestine in recent weeks. He has decided instead to make a donation to charities which help both Israeli and Palestinian children cope with disabilities.
A statement released by Wonder reads, "Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the FIDF Gala on December 6th. I am respectfully withdrawing my participation from this year's event to avoid the appearance of partiality. As a Messenger of Peace, I am and have always been against war, any war, any where. In consistently keeping with my spirit of giving, I will make a personal contribution to organisations that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities. Hoping for one world, one people, one day, Stevie Wonder."