(photo credit: AP)
President Shimon Peres apologized on Friday for the Kafr Kassem massacre of 1956, in which Border Police officers killed 48 of the village's residents.
"A terrible event happened here and we are very sorry for it," Peres said.
On October 29, 1956, a Border Police platoon shot and killed 48 unarmed Arab civilians in the village of Kafr Kassem east of Petah Tikva because the residents were unknowingly in violation of a curfew imposed on the village due to the onset of the Sinai Campaign.
The subsequent trial and conviction of the border policemen created a legal precedent that determined that certain military orders - such as those to shoot unarmed curfew violators - are so manifestly illegal that they must be disobeyed.
"Religion must be separated from violence. We are all sons of the same god, who didn't give us permission to murder, humiliate or oppress any human-being," Peres added.
Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, the founder of Israel's Islamic Movement, who was hosting Peres in Kafr Kassem, called on religious leaders from both sides to help build a peaceful connection between the Israeli and the Palestinian people.
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