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Soul legend Stevie Wonder  has pulled out of a concert raising money for the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces. He had been scheduled to perform at the Los Angeles event on 6 December.

In a statement, Wonder said: “I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere.”

A ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas is currently in place, after a week of violence in Gaza last month.

But tensions still run high. On Friday, Israel announced it would authorize the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The decision followed a UN General Assembly vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state.

Next week’s gala concert supports an organisation which raises money for Israeli soldiers and their families.

Wonder said the United Nations had recommended cancelling his performance because he is an official UN “Messenger of Peace”.

In his statement, the 62-year-old said he had made the decision with a heavy heart.

“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,” he added.

The musician said he would make contributions to charities that support Israeli and Palestinian children with disabilities.