Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a High Court ruling on Monday overturning his decision not to allow roughly 100 Palestinian residents of the West Bank to enter Israel to attend a Jewish-Palestinian joint Remembrance Day ceremony.
Saying the High Court decision was “wrong and disappointing,” Netanyahu said, “there is no place to have a memorial service that compares the blood of our sons and those of terrorists.”
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg lauded this decision saying, “every year the same ritual, all done to abuse and scare a humble memorial ceremony of bereaved families... Meretz will be there tomorrow to show our support,” noting how each year Israel files a petition against the Palestinians’ attendance with the High Court.
The Remembrance Day event scheduled for Tuesday allows Jewish and Palestinian families to mourn together and address the pain experienced during Israeli wars by both communities. It is arranged by the Bereaved Families Forum and Combatants for Peace.
Netanyahu had a different opinion on the courts decision.
“The High Court’s decision is wrong and disappointing. There is no place for a memorial service that compares blood between us and the blood of terrorists. I therefore refused to allow the participants to enter the ceremony, and I believe that there was no room for the High Court’s intervention in this decision,” he said in a statement.
Gilad Ach, head of the right-wing NGO Ad Kan, also slammed the decision saying the goal of the joint memorial service is “to harm the State of Israel and its strength.”
Saying that Combatants for Peace is a group “that legitimizes terrorists,” Ach claimed the group is motivated by “neither peace nor memory… but harming the State of Israel.” He said that “legitimizing the families of murderers and enemies, to say that they are victims too” is “insane and must be stopped.”
The State lobbied the High Court in 2018 not to allow Palestinians to attend the event, saying that these Palestinians had family members who were active terrorists and died during terror acts committed against Israel. However, the State later withdrew the claim after the High Court ruled it was false.
The High Court ruled last year that the Palestinians should be allowed into the country, saying that the Defense Minister failed to take into account the feelings of the bereaved families who wish to participate in the ceremony. The same ruling applied this year.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called the High Court ruling “aggravating,” and called to change “the face of the court” as it “once again… chose the things that divide over the things that unite us.”
The court noted that there are already several exceptions placed on West Bank residents on Memorial Day, including many who work as caregivers or cleaning personnel who are allowed to enter Israel, and that not all Palestinians are placed under curfew on this day.“There are 99 ways to commemorate the dead,” the court wrote in its ruling, “99 ways to express grief.”