Following an Israeli High Court ruling that Israel must grant permits to 100 Palestinian Authority residents to attend a joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, some 9,000 Israelis and a few dozen Palestinians took part in the Tuesday night event at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park.
Called “Sharing Sorrow, Bringing Hope,” the event was funded by Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle–Families Forum. The event has taken place annually since 2006.
On Wednesday, Natan Landau of Combatants for Peace told Hadashot TV news that the families of terrorists who were killed were welcome as long as they expressed their opposition to terrorism.
“If a family says ‘we are against those acts and we believe in achieving peace through non-violent means,’ I believe it has a place,” he said.
Detractors say the event equates fallen Israeli soldiers with the terrorists who attacked them, and minimizes the struggle for Israel’s survival. Proponents say the event is meant to allow Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost loved ones to find common ground through their loss.
“There is no place for a memorial ceremony likening the blood of our people and that of terrorists,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter. “That is why I refused to allow for the entry of the ceremony’s participants, and I think the High Court should not have intervened in my decision.”
Dozens of pro-Israel activists protested at the event. Police were on hand to maintain order.