Nearly 15,000 participants attended a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony for victims of the occupation in Tel Aviv on Monday night. The event was organized by Combatants for Peace and The Parents-Circle Families Forum and some 200 Palestinians from the occupied territories attend Tel Aviv ceremony, after Israel’s top court ordered the state to grant them entry permits.
The joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony for victims of the occupation held in Tel Aviv on Monday night, April 24, 2023 (Photo: Parents-Circle Families Forum)
At the event, in speeches delivered in both Hebrew and Arabic, activists and bereaved families denounced the West Bank occupation and urged others to work toward peace. A small group of fascists protesters outside the event brandished signs that said “Leftists are traitors”, “There is no co-existence with the enemy,” and “Worse than terrorists” They also shouted at the ceremony’s participants as they arrived and attempted to disrupt speeches by the bereaved family members, who continued speaking over the interruptions.
“Today’s ceremony is more important than ever. Evil spirits, extremist and racist, are blowing these days from official centers of power in Israel, and the purveyors of the evil spirits occupy key positions in the government. They preach Jewish supremacy and work to deepen the occupation. They seek to widen the divide and sow hatred between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” Professor Neta Ziv, Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Community at Tel Aviv University said in a speech.
Yusra Mahfouz, whose son was killed, said: “In the first days after I lost my son, I felt the need to take revenge, until one day people from the Parents-Circle Families Forum came to us. At first, I rejected outright any possibility of sitting face to face with the enemy who took my son, but slowly over time I began to participate, and I became active in the forum. I met people in my situation, Israelis, and Palestinians. The desire for revenge was replaced by the desire for peace and a better future. I turn to the mothers who are watching me now, the bereavement is the same bereavement, the pain is the same painful, today we see more than ever why we need to act together, may we all live in peace.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier this month tried to prevent Palestinians from attending the event by blocking participants from entering Israel, citing what he termed the “complex security situation” in the occupied West Bank. However, the High Court of Justice on Sunday ordered Gallant to allow the Palestinians into Israel to attend, however. In a sharply written decision, the court said it “regrets” the fact that Gallant’s decision was made in contravention of two previous court rulings from 2018 and 2019 ordering the defense ministers at the time to allow those Palestinians invited to the event to enter Israel.