Middle East News

Court: 90 Palestinians can enter Israel for Remembrance Day ceremony – Arab-Israeli Conflict

Participants of the joint ceremony in Tel Aviv

Participants of the joint Israeli- Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: HAI ASHKENAZI)

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that 90 Palestinians will be granted permits to attend the joint Israeli-Palestinian Remembrance Day ceremony Tuesday night, defying a move made earlier this week by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to bar 110 Palestinians from entering Israel to take part in the event.

“The defense minister’s decision completely ignores the pain inflicted upon the bereaved families and the general public who wish to [recognize the day] as they have done in years past,” the court’s statement read.

The two NGOs who organized the event, Combatants for Peace and the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, responded to the ruling, saying they are happy the court clarified that limits can be imposed even on the defense minister, and that Liberman has to keep his “personal tastes” to himself.

“Liberman will not tell bereaved families how to commemorate their pain. The Israeli-Palestinian Remembrance Ceremony will be held this year with the participation of the Palestinians. It will be larger than it has ever been since it was first held 13 years ago, and the entire public is invited to take part in it.”

Despite the court’s decision, the defense minister’s stance remained unchanged, with him claiming that “The High Court of Justice equated bereavement with terror this morning.

“The High Court’s decision harms the most unifying national day for the people of Israel. The final result: Division instead of unity.”

Meretz MK Ilan Gilon praised the Supreme Court’s decision: “It would be better if Defense Minister Liberman would focus on his real job as defense minister, and stop turning Palestinian citizens into ‘existential threats’  to the State of Israel.”

Last week, Liberman made the decision to bar 110 Palestinians from attending the ceremony in Tel Aviv, drawing mixed reactions from politicians and the public. Combatants for Peace and the Bereaved Families Forum issued a plea to the Supreme Court shortly thereafter.

In 2017, 225 Palestinians were denied entry to the ceremony, which was attended by approximately 4,000 Israelis. A simultaneous screening of the event was then organized in the West Bank town of Beit Jala.

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