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Israeli-Palestinian “flag war” brews as violence flares -Breaking


© Reuters. Israeli soldiers confront a Palestinian protestor with a flag waving during an anti-Israeli settlements demonstration in Jordan Valley, Israeli-occupied West Bank on June 6, 2022. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta


By Lara Afghani

JERUSALEM (Reuters). Israeli nationalists are targeting the Palestinian red, green, and black colours following weeks of violence in Israel’s West Bank. This escalated “flag war”, which emphasizes a fight for identity and status, has been triggered by weeks of violence.

A bill prohibiting the Palestinian flag being displayed in state-funded institutions (including universities) was approved by Israel’s parliament last week.

Supporters of the bill consider raising the Palestinian flag, which some Jewish Israelis view as an “enemy”, a provocative act. Many Palestinians living in Israel see the bill as an extension to what they perceive as Israeli efforts to erase their identities.

Eli Cohen (a right-wing Likud member of parliament) submitted the bill. He stated that “whoever wishes to live in Israel, the only democracy of the Middle East,”.

He said, “Those who wish to become Palestinians can go to Gaza and Jordan.”

Most of Israel’s Arab population is descended from Palestinians living under Ottoman, then British colonial rule.

About 21% of Israeli citizens are Palestinians, and they value Israeli citizenship for the greater benefits it offers than Palestinians who live in Gaza or the West Bank.

However, many people also identify as Palestinian. This is especially true since Israel’s 2018 nation-state law declared that Jews are the only ones who have the right of self-determination in the area between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Ahmad Tibi is a member for the Joint List which is a coalition Arab parties. He stated that the bill’s purpose was to “target Palestinian nationalism”.

He said that the flag represented “the Palestinian people everywhere they are”, to Reuters.


Although Palestinian flags are not prohibited by Israeli law, police and soldiers can remove them if they feel that there is a danger to the public order.

Police attacked the pallbearers of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral to remove the flag from the coffin. This was a high-stakes event, which took place in the midst deep anger about her murder.

Tens of thousands marched with Israeli flags in Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. It is a mostly Arab neighborhood of the Old City.

Last May, suspicions between Israeli Jews and Palestinians peaked during an eleven-day conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas faction. This war saw violence involving both communities throughout the country.

As the week approached, Israeli students held vigils in Israeli universities as a way to remember the Nakba, which was the time when thousands fled their homes to escape the 1948 war, that led to the founding of Israel.

Hetaf Alhzayel, a 23-year-old Palestinian psychology student at Ben Gurion University (southern Israel), participated in the vigil.