Palestinian flags flutter at a protest against the Nation-State Law in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 11th, 2018.
(photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)
A new bill, proposed by Likud MK Anat Berko on Wednesday, would prohibit the Palestinian flag from being raised at demonstrations.
The bill, which will be presented when the Knesset returns from its summer recess, was a response to a protest two weeks ago at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square during which Palestinian flags were waved and anti-Israel slogans were chanted.
The legislation would subject violators to up to a year in prison. It would apply to the flag of the PLO and to flags of enemy states that do not permit Israeli flags. A protest would be defined as a minimum of three people.“The flags of enemies
should not be tolerated in the public sphere,” Berko said. “This cannot be allowed, and it must be enforced.”
Berko said she expected the government to support the bill and expedite its passage.
Joint List MK Jamal Zahalka called the bill “racist, cowardly, and an attempt to hide Palestinian identity that will not succeed.” He said the Nation-State Law had started a trend in racist legislation.
His Joint List colleague, MK Aida Touma-Sliman, said the Palestinian flag is a national symbol of Palestinian people under occupation and their struggle.
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“Those who think Arab citizens must prove their loyalty to Israel by denying their national identity are very wrong,” she said.
New Joint List MK Neven Abu Rahmoun, who recently became the Knesset’s record 35th female legislator, said the bill would deny her freedom of expression. She said it was Berko who was breaking the law, because incitement to racism is already against the law in Israel.
Berko said the real problem was that Arab MKs do not have Israeli flags in their offices but want to have Palestinian flags and identify with hostile entities. She said the PA was a hostile entity because it does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and supports terror financially.
“No other country would permit its legislators to shame their flag and their national symbols,” Berko said, while saying she does not have high expectations for the new MK.
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