Whats behind the recent crackdown on the Palestinian flag?
The Palestinian flag remains the most popular way to express Palestinian solidarity, even when the Israeli occupation criminalises raising or waving it.
As the question of sovereignty becomes the talking point for weeks not only in Jerusalem but also within Israel and in the occupied West Bank however, a crackdown on the Palestinian flag has manifest.
During the funeral of Abu Akleh on 13 May, Israeli police issued a ban on waving the Palestinian flag. Mourners were assaulted and dragged aside every time a Palestinian flag was seen fluttering among the crowds.
A couple of days later, during Nakba commemorations and other pro-Palestine rallies inside Israeli cities, the raising of the Palestinian flag quickly became a matter of political wrangling in the government.
Lawmaker Israel Katz warned Palestinians on Tuesday of another Nakba if they fly the Palestinian flag in Israeli universities.
Last week, an Israeli settler, protected by soldiers, took a Palestinian flag down from an electricity pole on a busy road in Huwara town near Nablus. The incident has since led to tense confrontations with Palestinians attempting to erect the flag again and facing off with soldiers and settlers.
This crackdown on the Palestinian flag is nothing new, Palestinian heritage researcher Hamza al-Aqrabawi said, adding that it is part of a decades-old policy to erase Palestinian identity.
"The occupation has since 1967 outlawed the Palestinian flag... used excessive force on the ground and deployed various legal measures to criminalise people for carrying the Palestinian flag, by arresting and detaining some," Aqrabawi told MEE.
In this context, Aqrabawi argues that the Flag March has become an important event to Israelis but simultaneously draws out more anger and frustration from the Palestinians.
"How can you ban the Palestinian flag at a funeral and attack it, causing [the casket] to almost fall, just because it's draped in a Palestinian flag? Meanwhile, allow this flag march to pass through Damascus Gate which is a Palestinian monument?"
Media coverage: "The Israeli occupation decides to prevent its police and junior officers from taking down any Palestinian flags to be raised next Sunday against the flag march of Israeli settlers, fearing the eruption of confrontations with the Palestinians."
Palestinian factions call upon people to fend off Israeli incursions and the Israeli flag March to take place tomorrow in the heart of the old city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
"Raise your flag" is vast campaign activists have launched to confront the Israeli flag march.
With chanting and Takbir, Palestinians confronted Israeli settlers waving the Occupation’s flag in the heart of Al-Aqsa Mosque and raised the Palestinian flag while being suppressed by the Occupation Forces.
🔻Since early dawn, the Occupation Forces have stricly prevented Palestinian youths from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and limited the entry of women, thoroughly checking their IDs.
🔻Israeli settlers started storming Al-Aqsa Mosque in large numbers per group, performing talmudic rituals and reciting Zionist songs.
🔻Throughout the incursions, Israeli settlers celebrated and danced, recited their prayers loudly and tens performed full prostration next to the eastern wall of the mosque.
🔻A small number of Palestinian youths kept their ground all night in Al-Qibli Prayer Hall and fortified inside it. As the incursions started, they confronted by throwing rocks and fireworks towards the Occupation Forces and knocked heavily on the mosque doors to disrupt with noise.
🔻The Occupation detained a number of Palestinian youths and forced them out of Al-Aqsa, limited their movement within the mosque and prevented them from getting close to Al-Qibli Prayer Hall.
🔻Since 2019, this is the first time Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa on what they call “Jerusalem day”. In 2020, they couldn’t due to COVID restrictions and in 2021, they were stopped by prayers during Ramadan.
🔻Last week, Israeli Occupation Forces arrested tens of youths in Al-Quds and Umm Al-Fahm in a proactive action to prevent Palestinians from resisting the settler attacks during “Jerusalem Day”, and a number of youths were given expulsion orders by the Occupation authorities to prevent them from entering Al-Quds.
'I am Israel. I came to a land without a people for a people without a land. Those people who happened to be here, had no right to be here, and my people showed them they had to leave or die, razing 400 Palestinian villages to the ground, erasing their history.
I am Israel. Some of my people committed massacres and later became Prime Ministers to represent me. In 1948, Menachem Begin was in charge of the unit that slaughtered the inhabitants of Deir Yassin, including 100 women and children. In 1953, Ariel Sharon led the slaughter of the inhabitants of Qibya, and in 1982 arranged for our allies to butcher around 2,000 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.
I am Israel. Carved in 1948 out of 78% of the land of Palestine, dispossessing its inhabitants and replacing them with Jews from Europe and other parts of the world. While the natives whose families lived on this land for thousands of years are not allowed to return, Jews from all over the world are welcome to instant citizenship.
I am Israel. In 1967, I swallowed the remaining lands of Palestine - East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - and placed their inhabitants under an oppressive military rule, controlling and humiliating every aspect of their daily lives. Eventually, they should get the message that they are not welcome to stay, and join the millions of Palestinian refugees in the shanty camps of Lebanon and Jordan.
I am Israel. I have the power to control American policy. My American Israel Public Affairs Committee can make or break any politician of its choosing, and as you see, they all compete to please me. All the forces of the world are powerless against me, including the UN as I have the American veto to block any condemnation of my war crimes. As Sharon so eloquently phrased it, “We control America”.
I am Israel. I influence American mainstream media too, and you will always find the news tailored to my favor. I have invested millions of dollars into PR representation, and CNN, New York Times, and others have been doing an excellent job of promoting my propaganda. Look at other international news sources and you will see the difference.
I am Israel. You Palestinians want to negotiate “peace!?” But you are not as smart as me; I will negotiate, but will only let you have your municipalities while I control your borders, your water, your airspace and anything else of importance. While we “negotiate,” I will swallow your hilltops and fill them with settlements, populated by the most extremist of my extremists, armed to the teeth. These settlements will be connected with roads you cannot use, and you will be imprisoned in your little Bantustans between them, surrounded by checkpoints in every direction.
I am Israel. I have the fourth strongest army in the world, possessing nuclear weapons. How dare your children confront my oppression with stones, don’t you know my soldiers won’t hesitate to blow their heads off? In 17 months, I have killed 900 of you and injured 17,000, mostly civilians, and have the mandate to continue since the international community remains silent. Ignore, as I do, the hundreds of Israeli reserve officers who are now refusing to carry out my control over your lands and people; their voices of conscience will not protect you.
Iam Israel. You want freedom? I have bullets, tanks, missiles, Apaches and F-16s to obliterate you. I have placed your towns under siege, confiscated your lands, uprooted your trees, demolished your homes, and you still demand freedom? Don’t you get the message? You will never have peace or freedom, because I am Israel.'
Our unified sovereignty has disintegrated twice in ancient times due to internal conflicts. The first break-up took place 80 years after its foundation, whereas the second one came about 77 years later. We are all facing a real test, and wondering to whether we will be able to preserve Israel.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed his fears of the imminent demise of Israel before the 80th anniversary of its founding, citing "the Jewish history, which states that the Jews have not lived in a state for more than 80 years."
US 'negotiating deal between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt' The agreement to finalise transfer of two strategic Red Sea islands from Cairo to Riyadh could create warm ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel
The United States is secretly brokering talks between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt over the transfer of two strategic Red Sea islands to Riyadh, Israeli news outlet Walla reported on Wednesday.
Talks are ongoing to finalise the deal, which could see security arrangements agreed upon between Israel and Saudi Arabia and create warm ties between the two countries for the first time ever, sources told Walla.
Saudi Arabia has historically refused to set up diplomatic ties with Israel before a just resolution is found for Palestinians.
The negotiations, spearheaded by White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, aim to formalise the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands - strategically located at the sea passage to the ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel - from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.
The islands were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the Six Day War, before being handed back to Egyptian control in 1982 when the two sides signed the Camp David peace accords.
Saudi Arabia has long claimed ownership of the islands and said Egypt controlled them since 1950 for protection at the request of Riyadh.
15 years ago today, Israel began its siege on Gaza. Since then, over 2 million Palestinians have been trapped there as Israel refuses to let them leave while restricting their access to electricity, poisoning their water, and most horrifyingly, bombing children's schools and hospitals alike, killing thousands of Palestinians in Gaza since Israel began its siege in 2007.
Gaza has been unlivable for years now, and each day that Israel's siege continues means more suffering for the people who live there. The US must insist that Israel end its siege immediately and stop funding Israeli war crimes against people in Gaza—Palestinian lives depend on it.
Why is Israel so afraid of the Palestinian flag? Proposed legislation to prohibit Palestinian flags at state-funded institutions is part of Israel's quest to deepen its control over the Arab population
In a 63-16 vote, the Israeli Knesset this week gave initial approval to a bill that would prohibit Palestinian flags from being flown at state-funded institutions. Proposed by the Likud Party and backed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the bill is a clear demonstration of the state’s weakness in the face of Palestinian solidarity, showing that Israel - more than seven decades since its establishment on the ruins of historic Palestine - is in a state of panic.
The vote indicated once again that when the ruling coalition is unable to pass a bill, they resort to the Zionist ultra-rightwing parliamentary opposition. The remarkable issue here is not the fragility of the ruling coalition, but rather the Zionist national consensus and the dominance of the far-right, especially the religious settler movement, over Israeli political life.
The flag battle is not about the flag per se, but about the legitimate existence of Palestinians in their homeland
For Arab students to raise the Palestinian flag during demonstrations on Israeli campuses is nothing new. It has long been used as a national symbol in popular movements, and it was raised once again on 29 May 2022 in a spontaneous reaction to the Jerusalem "flag march", which saw tens of thousands of Jews storm the Old City.
During the event, marchers hoisting the Israeli flag were protected by Israeli forces who occupied the city. The real challenge was to hoist the Palestinian flag so that it could fly above the sea of blue-and-white flags.
Israel attaches special importance to the issue of raising the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem, portraying it as a violation of Israeli sovereignty, even though it is an occupying power. It resorts to the Oslo Accords, and in particular to the Paris Protocol of 1994, to confirm that the Palestinian Authority cannot interfere in internal Israeli affairs. Israel thus depicts Jerusalem as an Israeli affair, and raising the Palestinian flag as interference.
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According to Israeli officials, Palestinian accusations that they were violently and willfully expelled from their homeland in 1948 are a slur against Israel’s character and its army, supposedly “the most moral in the world”. It is even suggested that commemorating the Nakba equates to antisemitism.
Nakba denial was the Israeli state’s default position.
And yet paradoxically, Israeli politicians seem only too ready to echo these supposed calumnies against the founding of the self-declared “Jewish state”. In 2017, Tzachi Hanegbi, while serving as a senior cabinet minister, warned Palestinians that they faced a “third Nakba” - after the mass expulsions of 1948 and 1967 - if they resisted the occupation.
In threatening a second Nakba, Katz and Dayan are simply confirming that Israeli leaders, despite their protestations, have always known what the Nakba was - and have always approved of the goal of ethnic cleansing Palestinians.
The irony is that, while Israel denounces Palestinians and their supporters as liars for speaking of the Nakba, its own officials publicly cite the Nakba as a real event that can be repeated if Palestinians do not submit completely.
While Palestinians are effectively banned from publicly referring to the Nakba and may soon be barred even from waving a Palestinian flag in public spaces, Israelis can march through Palestinian communities calling out: “Death to the Arabs!” and “May your village burn!”
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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