TA municipality: Picture of Palestinian flag is doctored

Doctored image circulates after right-wing politicians decry presence of flag at protest.

August 12, 2018 15:46
3 minute read.
 Palestinian flags flutter at a protest against the Nation-State Law in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv

Palestinian flags flutter at a protest against the Nation-State Law in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, August 11th, 2018. (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)


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The Tel Aviv municipality clarified on Sunday that it did not light up City Hall with the Palestinian flag, after a doctored picture was circulated on social media. The posting was accompanied by an outcry from right-wing politicians regarding Palestinian flags waved by some protesters at a demonstration against the Nation-State Law held on Saturday night.

"In order to clear up any doubt, City Hall was not lit up yesterday with the colors of the Palestinian flag, but good job on the photoshop," the Tel Aviv municipality wrote in a Facebook post, using the word sahtein, an Arabic word used commonly in Hebrew slang to say “good job” or “bravo.”

Under the title, “The original picture,” the post displays a picture of Tel Aviv City Hall lit up with the French flag, which it adorned in November 2015 to show solidarity with France after a series of terror attacks in Paris. Underneath that picture, stamped with the words “fake news,” is the altered picture with the Palestinian flag.

Saturday night's protest drew tens of thousands of Arabs and Jews as they protested the recently-passed Nation-State Law, the second such protest in as many weeks after the Druze-led protest last weekend.

The protest was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an umbrella organization that represents Arab Israelis. The committee had decided not to allow demonstrators to wave Palestinian flags but nonetheless a significant number could be seen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Saturday night that “there is no greater testament to the necessity of this law” than the presence of the Palestinian flags at the protest.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also tweeted, “Those who truly want to be a part of the State of Israel do not call for its destruction while waving Palestinian flags at the city square.”

A group of supporters of the far-left Arab movement Balad had been filmed chanting, “With spirit and blood we will free Palestine.”

Likud MK Oren Hazan took advantage of the opportunity to advance his plea to Netanyahu to endorse him as a candidate for the Tel Aviv mayoral race.

“All day long they fought in the Tel Aviv municipality to distance themselves from the picture that was circulated on Facebook, in which the municipality building is lit by the flag of terror,” Hazan wrote. “But the whole square was full of terror flags last night, singing songs to kill the Jews and pearls of wisdom of ‘With blood and fire we will expel the Jews,’ that’s fine ... All in all makes sense. It’s clear to you that if I’m mayor all this will not happen!”

The Jewish Nation-State Law’s language cements a right to self-determination in Israel for the Jewish people, and addresses this in regard to language, flag, state symbols, holidays and the status of the Jewish Diaspora.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee argues that sections of the law constitute “the denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, the violation of the Arabic language and the Arab population’s right to equality as a national minority with collective, cultural linguistic and religious rights.”

Tamar Ben-Ozer contributed to this report.

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