What’s behind Israel’s intensifying war on the Palestinian flag?

Palestinian students wave flags at the Nakba Day ceremony at Tel Aviv University, May 15, 2022. (credit: Activestills)
On both sides of the Green Line, Israel’s escalating attacks against the very sight of Palestinian flags betrays the insecurity of its colonial project.

By Orly Noy | +972 | May 26, 2022

What explains the violent Israeli reaction to the sight of the Palestinian flag in the hands of a Palestinian boy in Sheikh Jarrah, or carried by mourners in a funeral procession, or hoisted by students on Nakba Day, or hung on a streetlamp in Huwara?

One of the more absurd moments I have witnessed in my many years of participating in the weekly protests in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah occurred several years ago. A young Palestinian boy, who was holding a small Palestinian flag, was being chased by five Israeli police officers armed to the teeth. One of the officers even climbed on an electricity pole to try and catch the boy, all while the protesters and onlookers laughed out loud.

As I watched this strange scene unfold before me, I asked myself what on earth could cause police officers to debase themselves to the point that they chase after a child, especially after an Israeli court ruled that it was perfectly legal to wave the Palestinian flag. What is it about this flag that drives Israelis out of their minds?

This question has resurfaced in recent weeks, during which almost daily videos have appeared on social media showing settlers removing Palestinian flags in the West Bank town of Huwara, near Nablus, under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers. The intensity of reactions by the Israeli public and various state institutions toward any sighting of the Palestinian flag gives the impression that this piece of cloth, with its four colors, threatens the very existence of the State of Israel.

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