Israel: Ben Gvir Orders Removal of Palestinian Flags From Public Spaces
The provocative move by Itamar Ben Gvir, the new Israeli Minister of National Security of Israel and a proponent of a Jewish supremacist and anti-Arab ideology, to “send to the Police Commissioner’s office an order that establishes that all agents of any rank are authorized to lower the flags of the Authority Palestine,” has prompted confusion in the already fragile situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PNA).
The move is seen as an extension of the political agenda of the Israeli right and extreme right, which last June tried to promote legislation to prohibit the display of the Palestinian flag. Ben Gvir himself has declared that “showing the (Palestinian) flag is a form of terrorism.”
The move came after a party was held last week in a Palestinian town in northern Israel to welcome Karim Younis, a Palestinian prisoner with Israeli citizenship, released after 40 years in prison on terrorism charges. Ben Gvir had tried to ban the event, arguing that it would express support for terrorism. However, the Police eventually allowed it to go ahead and the waving of Palestinian flags caused the strongest reaction from the head of Public Security. “It cannot be that lawbreakers wave terrorist flags, incite and support terrorism,” said Ben Gvir.
The move is indicative of Netanyahu’s coalition of right-wing, far-right and religious Jewish forces, which is considered the most right-wing in Israel’s history, and will likely lead to further sanctions against the PNA. Last week, Netanyahu announced sanctions against the PNA after it led a UN initiative against the Israeli occupation. Among other measures, the Israeli government revoked the travel permit of the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al Malki.