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Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Events


The New Israel Fund (NIF), American Friends of the Parents Circle-Families Forum (known originally as the Bereaved Families Circle) and American Friends of Combatants for Peace co-sponsored a Yom Hazikaron memorial for Israelis and Palestinians at the Jewish Y on East 14th Street in Manhattan.  This event was in tandem with the 13th annual joint Yom Hazikaron memorial at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, with 8,000 Israelis and Palestinians.*  Israel’s Supreme Court overruled an order by Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to permit the participation of 110 Palestinians from the West Bank.  A substantial part of a video recording of the event was screened for the New York audience (see entire recording at the bottom of this page).  

The writer David Grossman, who lost a son in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, was a featured speaker.  In fully acknowledging the importance of Israel’s establishment for the Jewish people, perennially in need of a safe place, Grossman nonetheless lamented that “Israel is a fortress, but not yet a home.”   

Perhaps the most poignant moment shown us from Tel Aviv was the speech by Dr. Amal Abu Sa’ad, a Palestinian-Bedouin citizen of Israel, who is a medical educator.  Her husband, Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an, was killed by Israeli police who were forcefully evacuating their unrecognized Negev village to make room for a Jewish settlement.  She spoke, mostly in Hebrew, without bitterness, but appealing for justice for her husband, whom she sees as an innocent victim of police violence.  At the same time she voiced support for a shared society for all of Israel’s citizens.  

A high point of the New York event was the side-by-side presentation of reflections from Israeli and Palestinian representatives of Combatants for Peace.  Nizar Farbakh spoke in lieu of Sulaiman al-Khatib, who could not get a visa to the US for some reason, despite frequent visits here.  Farbakh, a polished and engaging speaker, now makes his home in the Washington, DC area, where he works as a consultant and expert on Middle East issues; he read a poem in Arabic by Mahmoud Darwish, “A Ready Script,” about the chasm that enemies fall into as each other’s enemy. 

The Israeli standing at a microphone by Farbakh’s side was Elik Elhanan, a co-founder of Combatants for Peace.  He explained how he began the joint alternative memorial in Tel Aviv with fewer than 200 people in attendance, and how every year he addresses this gathering, he’s angry about the conflict and those who perpetuate it.  This year, he feels a measure of triumph, because of the Supreme Court’s overruling of Minister Lieberman’s attempt to bar 110 West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel to participate.  

A low point in the event was a disruption by about a half dozen rightwing activists denouncing the assemblage and chanting “NIF is BDS” and “IDF not NIF.”  Amidst an exchange of insults and taunts, the Y’s security personnel peaceably escorted them out of the auditorium. 

*Photo credit: Rami Ben-Ari/Combatants for Peace.

טקס יום הזיכרון הישראלי פלסטיני 2018

טקס יום הזיכרון הישראלי-פלסטיני 2018 مراسم يوم الذكرى المشترك 2018

Posted by ‎פורום המשפחות השכולות Parents Circle Families Forum منتدى العائلات الثكلى‎ on Wednesday, April 18, 2018


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