Israel’s new far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Sunday that he ordered police to remove Palestinian flags from public spaces, Reuters news agency reported.
Israeli authorities have long suppressed the display of the Palestinian flag in Israel. Although Israeli law does not outlaw Palestinian flags, Israeli forces “have the right to remove them in cases where they deem there is a threat to public order,” according to Reuters.
Sunday’s directive from Ben-Gvir appears to signal an uncompromising attitude toward Palestinian expressions of identity, free speech and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Israel's new far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Sunday that he ordered police to remove Palestinian flags from public spaces. Please join us in celebrating the Palestinian flag. #palestine #itamarbengvir #israel #love #homeland #struggle #resistance pic.twitter.com/lWCeJbx1WN
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 9, 2023
Ben-Gvir said in a statement that waving the Palestinian flag is an act supporting terrorism.
“It cannot be that lawbreakers wave terrorist flags, incite and encourage terrorism, so I ordered the removal of flags supporting terrorism from the public space and to stop the incitement against Israel,” he said.
The move follows the waving of the flag by former Palestinian prisoner Karim Younis, who was released on Thursday after spending 40 years behind bars and, according to Reuters, “received a hero’s welcome in his village in northern Israel.”
A survey conducted by Amnesty International last August has revealed that most Israelis fear the sight of the Palestinian flag and that half of the Palestinians in Israel believe that raising the flag of Palestine is part of their national identity.