High Court rules Palestinians must be allowed to attend terror victims’ ceremony

The court rejected arguments for barring entry based on security considerations and sensitivity to those whose loved ones were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

By World Israel News Staff 

On Monday, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that 100 Arabs from Judea and Samaria must be permitted to attend a joint Israeli-Palestinian ceremony on Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen and Terror Victims, which will be marked on Wednesday.

The ruling was handed down in response to a petition submitted by two co-existence groups, Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF), demanding entry permits for Arabs to attend the ceremony, which challenged a decision denying entry by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his capacity as Minister of Defense.

In the High Court decision, the justices noted that the denial of entry had not heeded a decision reached last year by the body.

“It is regrettable that despite the precedent set with the last petition, we were forced to revisit the same issue,” said the judges in their ruling.

Special permission is required for these Palestinians’ entry because Israel closes entry points from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas on Memorial Day and the subsequent Independence Day, as it does on other holidays.

Justice Yitzhak Amit rejected the defense minister’s assertion that entry should be barred based on the deteriorating security situation, since the permits were denied prior to the latest round of rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

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“The decision was not based on security considerations but rather on other considerations,” said the judge, adding that the court did not view the ceremony as provocative.

Justice Amit also rejected the argument that the event is insensitive to family members of victims of Palestinian terror on the grounds that such individuals can “[choose] not to attend and play a part in [the event].”

He also claimed the event represents the essence of freedom of expression.