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Israel’s national security minister bans Palestinian flag from public spaces

In a symbolically fraught move by the new government, Israel’s extreme-right national security minister ordered police to ban Palestinian flags in public places.

Itamar Bengvir, a far-right politician, oversees Benjamin Netanyahu’s police force. He said waving the Palestinian flag was terrorism support.

Israeli law does not allow the Palestinian flag to be flown, but soldiers and police can remove it if they feel that there is a danger to public order.

On Sunday, Mr Ben-Gvir tweeted: “It cannot possibly be that lawbreakers wave terror flags, encourage and incite terrorism, so i ordered the removal flags supporting terrorist from the public space, and to stop incitement towards Israel.”


This is the latest act of retaliation by the new hardline government after a Palestinian push to have the UN’s highest judiciary body give its opinion about Israel’s 55-year-old military occupation in the West Bank.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister, accused Israel of blocking “even non-violent” ways to fight the occupation in response to the government’s flurry of punitive measures.

The symbolism of the Israel-Palestinian war is represented by the red, green, and white Palestinian flag.

An attorney general ruled in 2014 that a decades-old ordinance gave police the power to seize a flag if it causes disruption to public order or breaches of peace or supports terrorism.

Image Itamar Ben–Gvir

Police have ‘unfettered discretion’ to ban waving flags

One group claimed that Mr Ben-Gvir’s order falsely implied that any public display or display of the Palestinian flag would be disruptive.

According to Adalah, an Arab legal rights group, “This gives police unfettered discretionary to ban the waving the Palestinian flag under any circumstances.”

Israel used to consider the Palestinian flag to be a symbol of militant groups similar to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah or Palestinian Hamas.

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After Israel and Palestine signed a series interim peace agreements, known as the Oslo Accords (or the Oslo Accords), the flag was recognized as that of the Palestinian Authority, which was established to manage Gaza and other parts of the occupied West Bank.

This is Mr Ben-Gvir’s second move, following the release last week of a long-serving Palestinian prisoner convicted of kidnapping an Israeli soldier and killing him in 1983. He waved a Palestinian flag as he received a hero’s reception in his northern Israeli village.

He is well-known for his anti-Arab rhetoric as the leader of an ultranationalist party.

The new government of Mr Netanyahu was inaugurated at the end December.


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