Israel's Peace Now movement on Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the
assassination of activist Emil Grunzweig, who was killed when a hand grenade was thrown at protesters during a demonstration in Jerusalem in 1983.
Friends, family and
supporters attended a ceremony outside the Prime Minister's Office, where the attack took place. Many of those present at the ceremony had participated in the
protest during which Grunzweig died.
The assassination occurred during a Peace Now
demonstration following the release of the Kahan Commission report on
Israel's role in the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1983. Activists at the protest were calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the commission,
which found that Israel had indirect responsibility for the massacre,
and for the resignation of then-defense minister Ariel Sharon. During the
protest, right-wing activist Yona Avrushmi threw a grenade into the
crowd, killing Grunzweig and wounding many others.
On Sunday, President Shimon Peres sent a letter to Grunzweig's
family, writing that "the echo of the terrible assassination of their son by one of his own people at a peaceful demonstration in the heart of Jerusalem" had still not
subsided three decades on.
"It reminds us all
where uncontrolled incitement, jealousy and intolerance for other views
can lead to," the president said. He remembered Grunzweig as an IDF
officer, an educator and a peace activist, "who paid for his life with
his participation in a legitimate protest, within the sacred framework
of freedom of expression."
"Every citizen has the right to live
according to his faith, as long as they respect others, and every violent
hand will be cut off," Peres added.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On also
released a statement to mark the day, mourning that "thirty years after
Grunzweig's assassination, the lessons have not been learned." She
warned that Peace Now and left-wing organizations still face incitement
and delegitimization when they criticize government policies.
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