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Netanyahu wants you to think Israeli-Palestinian mourning is seditious

The prime minister pulls out all the stops in his failed attempt at preventing the annual Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony from taking place.

Participants seen during the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Participants seen during the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have lied to Israel’s highest court this week in an attempt to shut down and delegitimize one of Israel-Palestine’s only successful fora for shattering the exclusive nature of national mourning.

For the past 14 years, Israelis and Palestinians who have lost family members to the conflict have come together on Israel’s Memorial Day to hold an alternative, joint ceremony. The ceremony marks the deaths of both Israelis as well as Palestinians who have been killed over the years.

Israeli leaders have consistently criticized the ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Family Forum, for what they say is commemorating Palestinian terrorists. For the second year in a row, Israel’s Defense Ministry, headed by Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied entry permits to 176 West Bank Palestinians from bereaved families who hoped to participate in the ceremony.

According to Netanyahu, the bereaved families pose a security threat.

When the organizers requested entry permits for Palestinians, the Defense Ministry initially denied the request due to the closure on the occupied territories on Memorial Day. The Israeli army places the West Bank under closure on Jewish and Israeli national holidays by shutting down checkpoints to Palestinian traffic.

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Combatants for Peace and PCFF appealed the decision to the High Court. In the state’s response, Netanyahu and State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit argued that the decision to deny entry to Palestinian participants stemmed from security concerns.

The High Court didn’t buy it and overturned the decision. In his ruling, Justice Yitzhak Amit slammed Netanyahu for claiming that the decision to deny entry came in light of the violence in Israel’s south. Yet Amit noted that the Defense Ministry made its decision prior to the latest round of fighting, and that there was no closure on the West Bank during that time. The court then ordered the state to allow 100 of the Palestinians to attend the ceremony.

Netanyahu took to social media to criticize the ruling: “The High Court’s decision is mistaken and disappointing. There should not be a ceremony that equates the blood of our sons to the blood of terrorists. That is why I refused to allow entry to the ceremony participants, and I believe the High Court should not have intervened in my decision.”

Netanyahu’s admission is astounding. As one Israeli blogger who goes by the pseudonym John Brown pointed out, the prime minister deliberately deceived the High Court, claiming after the fact that he denied those 176 Palestinians — who wanted to travel to Tel Aviv to commemorate the deaths of their loved ones alongside Israelis who sought to do the same — should be denied on moral grounds, not security considerations.

Right-wing protesters take part in a demonstration outside the annual Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Right-wing protesters take part in a demonstration outside the annual Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Netanyahu is no fool. He knew that, like last year when then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tried to do the same, the High Court was likely to overturn the decision. He knew that an alternative Memorial Day event poses no threat to the State of Israel or his decade-long reign.

His goal, then, is symbolic: to portray any semblance of a Jewish-Palestinian alliance as an act of subversion and treason. To turn a ceremony that, for one night, would allow Israelis and Palestinians to share grief, reconcile, and imagine a different world, into a display of disrespect for Israeli soldiers and their families. The saddest part is that it seems to be working.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      @Lewis: Let’s hear it from more perverted self haters!

      As it begins the eighth decade of independent statehood, Israel doesn’t yet know the meaning of freedom. It is imprisoned inside a dual siege, the one imposed by the residents of Gaza and the West Bank and the one that is smashing its values from within. The presence of the Palestinians on a Jewish fantasy map requires the state to fortify and arm itself, cultivate threat, justify killing, and above all to halt any attempt to achieve a political settlement or peace. For peace is an explosive that threatens the national dream.

      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israel-is-independent-but-not-free-1.7214964?utm_source=smartfocus&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter-daily&utm_content=https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israel-is-independent-but-not-free-1.7214964

      Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        I would like to say in response to Lewis’s imagined description of my origins that judaism is not zionism and that ZIONISTS WILL NOT REPLACE US. They are trying, with varying degrees of success, to marginalize and eliminate jewish voices and replace them with zionist screeching and getting a lot of help from christians/evangelicals and self-proclaimed atheists (think of clutch your pearls meghan mccain, who, during her tearful speech on The View and confession of being afraid of Ilhan Omar, declared she isn’t jewish but might be a zionist). Seth Meyers tried to get her into the light, but she adamantly refuses to be moved by common sense and humanity. She certainly ticks all the boxes to be a card-carrying zionista.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Re: “ZIONISTS WILL NOT REPLACE US”

          Carmen:
          The average Israeli woman has 3.1 kids whilst the American Jewish woman has less than half of that. But even that is an overestimation since most of those kids are not being raised Jewish. The future belongs to those who show up for it.
          Yes, you are gradually being replaced.

          Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            @Lewis

            By something that is doomed for failure. Sorry Lewis, but it’s your ideology that is going to be replaced or destroyed. Some future for those 3.1 kids, right?!

            How is it you’re still able to post here?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Last I heard the Palestinians (both here and in America) are showing up for the future too. Your juvenile, shameful, genocidal fantasies aside, you can’t disappear them.

            Zvi Bar’el on fantasies and fever dreams:

            “Seventy-one years have passed since Israel declared its independence but the country has yet to fully achieve sovereignty. Its borders were recognized by the international community, yet its people, similarly to Arab countries before the War of Independence, still refuse to accept the Partition Plan. It occupies about 5 million people in the West Bank and Gaza, and has annexed territory it doesn’t own in the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Its control over Gaza is absolute, hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens have settled in enemy territory where they’ve established a quasi-state, it draws its national identity from a violent struggle whose end doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, and its laws are based on an ideology of an insatiable hunger for territory….
            Generations of pupils… have been trained to identify anyone who isn’t Jewish as an enemy and in adulthood they will also point to half the Jewish population as an enemy of the nation and country… They will be asked to become shahids of the religion of the territories, which has become the only permissible belief, and in its name they will kill Palestinian children, not because they threaten the country’s security but because they interfere with fulfilling a dream of divine promise.
            As it begins the eighth decade of independent statehood, Israel doesn’t yet know the meaning of freedom. It is imprisoned inside a dual siege, the one imposed by the residents of Gaza and the West Bank and the one that is smashing its values from within. The presence of the Palestinians on a Jewish fantasy map requires the state to fortify and arm itself, cultivate threat, justify killing, and above all to halt any attempt to achieve a political settlement or peace. For peace is an explosive that threatens the national dream.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            I love your obsession with birth rates. For a Jew, you’d get along very well with the alt-right chuds here in America. Maybe that would cure them of their anti-Semitism, to learn that Jews can be just as ignorant and porcine as they are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Yes, we Israelis have the highest birth rate in the Developed World.
            The rest of Europe, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japam, S.Korea have given up on reproduction. That is why their populations are becoming elderly and their economies are shrinking or will shrink in the immediate future.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            In 2065 half the children will be Haredim. With an overall population density, excluding the Negev, equal to Bangladesh. And the climate getting hotter and hotter. Good luck with that! But G-d will provide! You betcha!

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            More confused, silly malthusian extrapolations from Comrade Ben.

            Reply to Comment