Home News Activists hold ceremony to reflect on Israeli and Palestinian losses

Activists hold ceremony to reflect on Israeli and Palestinian losses

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Against the backdrop of Israel’s holiest anniversary, peace activists in Israel live-streamed the annual Israeli-Palestinian joint Remembrance Day ceremony on Sunday night, with parallel events in London, New York and Los Angeles.

The ceremony, organized by two peace-building organizations, Warriors for Peace and the Parent Circle-Family Forum, was unusual in that it sought to acknowledge not only Israeli grief but also decades of Palestinian suffering. This year’s event is particularly poignant because it is the first since the deadly Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7 and is being held amid the devastation caused by the war in Gaza.

The ceremony, which has been held annually since 2006, was pre-recorded this year to avoid the possibility of disruption by protesters. It has drawn sharp criticism and legal challenges in Israel in previous years, and on Sunday organizers said ahead of a live broadcast of the ceremony that its website had been hacked. As a result, organizers said it could not be watched on YouTube as planned, with viewers watching on Facebook instead.

The ceremony, an annual focus for Israeli peace activists, included speeches, songs, a poem about peace and a video of Israeli and West Bank children talking about the impact of the war. A child wishes that “all the dead would be resurrected.” Palestinians in the West Bank are not personally involved because Israel stopped allowing many Palestinians to work in Israel after an Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack that killed about 1,200 people. Speakers from Gaza also did not speak directly.

“To many Israelis, it seems provocative,” Yuval Lahamin said of the ceremony in a telephone interview from Tel Aviv. Mr. Rahamim, co-director of Parent Circle – the Family Forum, an Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of families who have lost immediate family members in the conflict, said his father was killed in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. He acknowledged that many Israelis would find the event shocking given the scale of the suffering that occurred on October 7, but said that this also gave the event greater significance.

“Many people have woken up to the reality that this conflict cannot continue,” he said, referring to decades of violence. “People are willing to stand up.”

His views were also echoed by Magen Inon, 41, whose parents were killed on October 7, who spoke personally at the start of the screening at a Jewish community center in London. He said he did not want what happened to his family to be a reason for further war. “We feel as though our personal suffering has been hijacked by the national cause,” said Mr. Yinon, who now works as a peace activist.

Many Israelis believe the country remains under National shock losses and losses on October 7, and were shocked by international criticism of the war in Gaza, which they mostly considered justified.

More than 34,000 people have been killed in Gaza in Israel’s military campaign to defeat Hamas, and nearly all Gazans have been displaced by a hunger crisis that aid workers say is largely due to Israeli restrictions on aid deliveries to the enclave Caused.

But the ceremony, which was screened in more than 200 venues across Israel, reflected the diversity and complexity of views on the issue within Israeli society. Several speakers discussed their hopes for an end to generations of bloodshed and peace.

The most visible contributions came from Palestinian speakers who described conditions in Gaza.

Ghadir Hani read a submission from a Gaza woman named Najla, who described how she lost 20 family members in the war, including her brothers, two of whom The child’s father, her brother, was killed while visiting, she said. Provide food for his parents.

“They killed him while walking down the street but did not pose any threat,” Ms. Haney wrote. “Death machines are still ready to kill,” she added. “But I know that on the other side, there are a lot of people who believe in peace.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel’s war is against Hamas, not the people of Gaza, and the Israeli government is concerned about the civilian casualties. Pity.

Another contributor, Ahmed Helou, is a member of Fighters for Peace, a group that brings together people fighting for Israel or Palestinian groups. He said Israel’s brutal actions forced him to reassess the personal cost of his commitment to peace.

“The Israeli army is still killing people shamelessly. In their eyes, everyone in Gaza is a terrorist,” Mr. Helu said, describing the string of deaths his family has experienced in Gaza. “Will causing insurmountable suffering bring peace to the Israelis?”

Israel’s Memorial Day begins at sundown on Sunday, with ceremonies continuing through Monday afternoon.

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