On Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, Israelis and Palestinians gathered in Tel Aviv to collectively mourn the heavy price of violent conflict. After 181 Palestinians were initially denied entry to Israel, 100 Palestinians were given permits and took part in the memorial service in Yarkon Park.
New Israel Fund supported the Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony with a major grant. The ceremony, which has run annually for the past 14 years, is organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle – Families Forum, a group for bereaved parents of Israelis and Palestinians.
This year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Defense Ministry to deny the entry permits to Palestinians that requested to attend the event. However, as it had in previous years, the Supreme Court overruled the decision, and ordered the Defense Ministry to issue at least 90 permits (approximately half of the 181 Palestinians that had requested entry).
Criticizing the Defense Ministry, the Supreme Court decision called the initial denial of entry “unreasonable” and “disproportionate.”
“Here lies the core of freedom of expression, of personal autonomy, which gives every person the opportunity to write and shape his life story in his own way,” Justice Yitzhak Amit explained. “In the life story of every bereaved family there is sorrow, pain and longing. The Minister of Defense must not interfere in the way in which a family wishes to express its own bereavement and sorrow for the untimely passing of a loved one.”
Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represented the petitioners, stated: “Justice has been served by the Supreme Court, and tomorrow evening justice will be served once again when 100 Palestinians will enter Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv to participate in a meaningful event, which has been taking place for 14 years, and continue to provide a spark of hope during turbulent times.”
Photo Credit: Mali Goldfarb