Israeli parliament votes in favour of bill outlawing display of ‘enemy’ flags

Maroosha Muzaffer

The Independent  /  June 4, 2022

Israeli forces have been seen in a video guarding Jewish settlers removing a Palestine flag at a town.

Israel’s parliament has voted in favour of a bill that outlaws the display of “enemy” flags at state-funded institutions.

The Knesset approved the bill with 63 in favour of the legislation, including Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, and 16 against.

But the bill still needs three more votes to become a law.

Eli Cohen, from the opposition Likud Party, introduced the bill to ban “the flying of the flags of an enemy state or the Palestinian Authority”.

“Anyone who sees himself as a Palestinian will receive from us all the help required to move to Gaza in a one-way route,” he tweeted.

In the wake of the death of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead while covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin refugee camp on 11 May, Israeli forces have been seen removing Palestinian flags.

Israeli forces could be seen in a viral video standing guard and pointing guns at angry Palestinian residents as Jewish settlers took down Palestinian flags in Huwara town in the Palestinian West Bank.

The Middle East Eye reported that, during the debate preceding the vote on the bill, Likud’s Mr Cohen screamed at Israeli Arab politician Sami Abu Shehadeh that he should “go to Gaza or Jordan”.

Mr Shehadeh is a member of the Joint List political alliance of four Arab political parties that represents Palestinian citizens of Israel.

This was met with jeers from Knesset members, with one shouting that he should be “ashamed” of himself.

Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the joint list, told the parliament: “About seven years ago the Knesset banned commemoration of the Nakba Day, and since then more and more people are doing that. You’re acting just like any colonialist, any thief. You’re afraid of the flag, you deny the Nakba.”

Nakba Day is observed on 15 May every year to acknowledge the displacement of Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded after the Second World War.

Al-Nakba is the Arabic word for The Catastrophe.

The Israeli parliament’s vote on Wednesday comes just days after Israelis marched through Muslim areas of East Jerusalem’s Old City and attacked Palestinians during an annual “Flag March” which marks Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

Maroosha Muzaffer – senior journalist