Israel Orders Police To Remove Palestine Flags From Public Space

ISRAEL’s new far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has instructed police to remove Palestinian flags from public spaces, calling the Palestinian national symbol an act of “terrorism”.

Israeli law does not outlaw Palestinian flags but police and soldiers have the right to remove them in cases where they deem there is a threat to public order.

Sunday’s directive from Ben-Gvir, who heads the ultranationalist Jewish Power party in Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government and as national security minister oversees the police, appears to signal a hardline and uncompromising attitude towards Palestinian expressions of identity and free speech and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The display of the Palestinian flag in Israel has, in practice, long been clamped down on by Israeli authorities, with Palestinians regarding such moves as an attempt to suppress Palestinian identity.

Ben-Gvir’s orders came after a mass anti-government protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday, where some demonstrators waved the Palestinian flag.

Protesters labelled the recently sworn-in government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “fascist” and advocated for equality and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Writing on Twitter, Netanyahu on Sunday said the presence of the Palestinian flag at the Tel Aviv protest was “wild incitement”.

Ben-Gvir’s directive also follows the release last week of a long-serving Palestinian prisoner, convicted of kidnapping and killing an Israeli soldier in 1983, who waved a Palestinian flag while receiving a hero’s welcome in his village in northern Israel.

Ben-Gvir, in a statement, said waving the Palestinian flag is an act in support of “terrorism”.

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