Bereaved Families Try to Block Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Event

More than 100 families send letter to defense minister asking him to deny entry to Palestinians and amend Memorial Day law.

Alon Ron

More than 100 bereaved families sent a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday, asking him to prevent Palestinian families from entering Israel to take part in a joint Memorial Day ceremony.

"The ceremony is a provocation that demeans Memorial Day and the memory of the state's fallen soldiers," said the letter, according to Army Radio.

Prompted by the Samaria Settler Council, 107 families signed the letter, which asks Ya'alon to prevent Palestinian families from getting visas to enter Israel to take part in the event scheduled to take place Tuesday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. The settler group is also planning a protest outside the event, according to Army Radio.

"We are horrified that the Israeli government allows a joint ceremony to take place that commemorates enemies who participated in the killing and harming of our children, who enlisted to protect our nation and land, and our children living in Israel who met their deaths just because they were Jewish," the letter continued.

The letter added that it is "inconceivable" that the organizations Combatants for Peace and the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace, which organize the joint Memorial Day event, should be able to transform the day into one commemorating enemies of Israel.

The families also asked Ya'alon to amend the Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars Law in order to prevent ceremonies that equate Israeli and Palestinian bereavement from taking place in the future.

Combatants for Peace issued a statement in response to the letter, saying in part, "Precisely on this difficult day, we call on both sides to acknowledge the pain and the hope of those living on the other side of the fence, and to try to prevent the next war. Then, perhaps on Memorial Day next year, we will not have to tally additional victims."