In response to a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony organized by “Combatants for Peace” in the Tel Aviv Harbor, Naomi Enoch, chair of the state-owned company that operates the harbor, said that the ceremony was an outrage, and condemned its participants. In the last year, 67 Palestinians were killed by Israel, and four Israeli citizens were killed by Palestinians.
“Combatants for Peace,” a movement of Israeli and Palestinian ex-fighters devoted to reconciliation, ending the occupation and peace, holds a ceremony each year on the eve Israeli Memorial Day in commemoration of everyone who died in the conflict. This year, the event was held in the Tel Aviv Harbor, a trendy outdoor mall full of shops and restaurants and run by a state-owned company called “Otzar Mif’aley Yam” (Treasure of Sea Initiatives). When Enoch, chair of the company’s board, heard about this, she released the following statement:
Memorial Day is meant to honor the memory of Israeli casualties in war and terror attacks. As a government company, we believe that any attempt to link the memory of fallen IDF soldiers with Palestinians who have been killed is an insult to the citizens of this state, to the memory of the fallen and to the bereaved families. It is a pity that the organizers of this ceremony do not feel compassion for residents of Israel, its citizens and the bereaved families, and choose to desecrate the holiness of the fallen. Unfortunately, the event is held within a private business in the harbor, and the company has no way of stopping it. The only thing we can do is show our discontent with those groups who consider themselves ‘humane’ yet choose to kick the values on which they were brought up, ignoring the feelings of the public on this holy day.
It should be noted that Enoch’s appointment came as a result of political pressure by Minister of Transportation Israel Katz (Likud), whose office is in charge of the harbor company. In spite of Enoch’s statement, which was backed by several Likud MKs, the ceremony took place as planned, but was met with a demonstration by right wing extremists.
[UPDATE: The sign in the center reads "Leftists - out!" The sticker on the sign and on the clothes of people around the sign read "Kahane was right," referring to Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of an outlawed extreme right-wing group and supporter of ethnic cleansing.]
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, 16,774 Israeli soldiers have died since the founding of the state in 1948, including 50 in the last year. As these deaths include those resulting from accidents, disease, suicide (in the last decade, an average of 30 soldiers committed suicide each year), suicide bombings and combat – I asked the IDF to send a breakdown of the causes of death of these 50 soldiers. The request was denied.
According to B’Tselem, since last year’s Memorial Day, not a single soldier was killed by Palestinians. Four Israeli civilians were, however, including one minor. In the same time frame, 67 Palestinians were killed by Israeli armed forces, including 26 non-combatants – of which seven were minors.