The Israeli parliament, Knesset, advanced a bill at a preliminary reading on Wednesday that would ban flying the Palestinian flag during protests, Israeli media reported.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the bill – sponsored by the far-right Otzma Yehudit party – stipulates that three or more people waving the flag of a “hostile entity” will be considered a crime and, therefore, will be punishable by up to one year in prison.
The bill, which requires three additional votes to pass, will reportedly enable Israeli authorities to criminalize and disband protests held by Palestinians.
The description of the bill states that “as a democracy, Israel enables its citizens to protest decisions they don’t agree with the authorities on. But the proposal draws a red line between legitimate protest and one in which there are flags of those who don’t recognize the State of Israel.”
The bill comes after the Knesset passed the preliminary reading of a controversial bill last year that would ban flying the Palestinian flag in state-funded institutions.
Condemning the passing of the bill, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – Adalah, said police officers removing flags at protests and arresting those holding them is an “extreme breach of their authority and the law”.
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