The leftist movement Combatants for Peace responded on Monday to the condemnation of the alternative Memorial Day ceremony it is organizing and in which it includes Israeli bereaved parents and Palestinian Authority Arab bereaved parents (parents of terrorists who were killed while fighting IDF soldiers) under the same category of remembrance and loss.
The alternative ceremony has been held for the past seven years and this year, for the second year in a row, a group of Israeli youth is planning to show up and protest the inclusion of Arabs.
On Sunday, one of the protest organizers, Nissim Eliyahu, sharply criticized the alternative ceremony and told Arutz Sheva that it is in fact a political event under the guise of a memorial event.
“They call the terrorists fighters and hold a joint ceremony,” said Eliyahu, adding he approached Combatants for Peace and asked them for clarification on this issue, but was ignored. However, he noted, the advertisement for the ceremony says that it is also meant for families of “Palestinian combatants.”
Combatants for Peace’s spokesman, Avner Horowitz, responded to Eliyahu’s remarks and said, “No one in Israel, including the organizers of the protest, has a monopoly on grief and pain. The bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families who are taking part in the ceremony chose this way to honor the death of their loved ones, because they did not find relief in the state-sponsored ceremonies that are just as political as this ceremony.”
Horowitz added, “The thousands of people who attended the Combatants for Peace ceremony in recent years attests to the growing need for such an event. For us, honoring the memory of the fallen is essentially an attempt to prevent the deaths of more people in the cycle of violence.”
He said that Combatants for Peace and all the participants in the ceremony “are committed to non-violence and act in a variety of ways to promote reconciliation and non-violence” in Israel and in Judea and Samaria.