Israel’s Ministry of Defense, headed by Minister Avigdor Lieberman, refused to allow 110 Palestinians from the bereaved families to attend the joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv, on the Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars.
The "Bereaved Families Forum" embraces dozens of pro-peace Jewish and Palestinian families working together who choose a day when Israel commemorates the memory of its war victims for an "alternative memorial day" in which representatives of families talk about the importance of achieving peace and putting an end to the killing.
The Palestinians were invited as participants to the ceremony organized by the Combatants for Peace and the Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace groups as an alternative to the standard Israeli Memorial Day events.
On this day, families who lost some of their members in the war also have the chance to talk about their feeling of bitterness due to the loss of their relatives.
It was planned that two Jewish and two Palestinian delegates would deliver speeches at this event in Tel Aviv next week.
However, Lieberman ordered the army not to grant permission to Palestinians to enter Israel on this day, knowing that they enter Israel whenever they request, according to the ministry’s statements.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Lieberman said: “I will not allow the desecration of Remembrance Day. This ceremony is not a memorial event but a display of bad taste and insensitivity that harms our dear bereaved families.”
Combatants for Peace movement and the Bereaved Families Forum said they had requested permits for 220 Palestinians, half of whom had been approved, but Lieberman decided not to grant the other permits.
“Lieberman may not recognize left-wing families. The memory of bereavement is very personal. It is our right to decide to revive it the way we want. Why would he allow himself to intervene in such a personal matter?” Spokeswoman for the Bereaved Families Forum Robi Damelin said.
Lieberman acted the same way in 2017, refusing to allow the 225 Palestinians to participate in the joint ceremony.
The official reason was the security motive since several stabbing incidents were carried out by Palestinians against Jews, a few days before the event.
Yet, Lieberman is repeating this behavior for political purposes this time, and he wants to eliminate this way of commemorating the anniversary completely, according to some critics of his decision.