The Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon on Monday rejected Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer’s complaint against a new memorial for the uprooting of the Jews of Gush Katif at the entrance to the Knesset, NRG reported. Yinon’s response was the “the evacuation of the settlements was an event of historic and national proportion and as such there is no basis to prevent its commemoration in the manner that was decided.”
On Monday a memorial display was posted in the Knesset for the communities of Gush Katif which were uprooted and destroyed as part of the disengagement plan more than ten years ago. The text accompanying the display leaves no doubt as to the fact that the decision to evacuate the settlements and their Israeli residents is not recalled favorably by the majority of Israelis — the term “uprooting” is repeated several times.
Oppenheimer sent a letter to the Knesset legal adviser demanding a reexamination of the legality of the display, which had been sanctioned by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. “To the best of my recollection,” Oppenheimer wrote, “the Knesset plaza only has a very restricted number of memorials dedicated to the history of the nation of Israel, the foundation values of Israel’s democracy, and specifically to the memory of the Holocaust victims, the casualties of Israel’s wars, and the victims of terrorist attacks.”
Oppenheimer added that “to this day difficult and dramatic events in the history of the nation of Israel and the State of Israel have not merited permanent memorials in the Knesset plaza — not the Rabin murder nor the Yom Kippur War, nor the evacuation of Yamit or the massacre in Kafr Kassem. Which is why the Peace Now leader was asking the legal adviser the determine whether it was within the purview of the Speaker to decide and post permanent memorials in the Knesset, what was their status and whether or not, and how they could be removed in the future.
Yinon wrote Oppenheimer that the term “permanent memorial” is not relevant in this case, because the Gush Katif memorial is removable. He added that the current display does not offer a political view about the evacuation, and noted that even those who support the 2005 decision agree that it was a major historic and national event, and so there is no reason to prevent memorializing it in the manner decided by the Speaker “as part of his inherent authority.”