Saturday, October 24, 2020

Israel plans to ban the raising of the Palestinian flag

By Maria Correia - August 27, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Israeli law]

Anat Berko, an Israeli Lawmaker from Knesset’s Likud Party, is pushing for a bill that would prohibit the Palestinian flag from being raised in demonstrations. 

Berko stated that “the flags of enemies should not be tolerated in the public sphere” and that their raising “cannot be allowed, and it must be enforced.”
She also emphasised that she is expecting wide support for the bill within the Likud Party which would accelerate its passage.
The bill draft would also include Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) flags and the national flags of all 'enemy nations’ that prohibit Israeli flags.
Anyone that would violate this new bill would be subject to a sentence of up to a year in prison.
The law would be an addition to the current 'penal code,’ according to which gatherings of people 'suspected of violating public order’ is prohibited.
This can mean a minimum of three people that gather for a common purpose, regardless of its legitimacy.
The gathering can be considered illegal, if it causes others to feel even slight fear for public safety, or instills fear that the gathering itself could provoke dangerous behaviour from outsiders.
Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Joint List party, condemned the bill. Zhalka called it ”racist, cowardly, and an attempt to hide Palestinian identity that will not succeed.”
Aida Touma-Slima, another Joint List member of the Knesset, resonated similar feelings, saying that the flag is a national symbol for Palestinians.
Taleb el-Sanea, member of the higher Follow-up Committee for Arab Affairs, said in response to the draft-law that “the Knesset has become a small entity compared to the populist extremists who have been pushing it to dig its own grave and undermine the democratic foundations.”
Berko responded to the condemnations of Arab MKs, dismissing them by saying that as the critics don’t have Israeli flags in their offices, they identify with “hostile entities.”
The Knesset will return to work in October, when the bill will be presented. The bill draft is a response to Tel Aviv’s large-scale protests against the Nation State law, in which the Palestinian flag was present.
The Nation State Law essentially solidifies Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People. It is also known as the Nationality Law.
Fundamentally, the Nation State Law enshrines  Hebrew as the official language of the country, states that national self-determination is unique to Jewish people of Israel, and in states settlements as a national value.
The protest against the Nation State Law took place earlier in August at the Rabin Square, and was participated by over 30 000 people.
The demonstration was largely led by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, who make up for about a sixth of Israel’s population.


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