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Israel Approves Bill to Ban Raising Palestinian Flag in Universities, Public Institutions

Israel Approves Bill to Ban Raising Palestinian Flag in Universities, Public Institutions

Monday, 30 May, 2022 - 10:45
Israeli and Palestinian students stage protests at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba on May 23, 2022. (Palestinian websites)

The Israeli government's legislative committee approved on Sunday a bill that would outlaw the display of the Palestinian flag at universities or public institutions.

The approval of the bill comes in line with the war waged by the ruling right-wing parties and the far-right opposition in Israel against the Palestinian flag.

According to lawmaker Eli Cohen of the opposition Likud party, who sponsored the bill, “the hypocrisy and the incitement from some Arab Israelis must stop. They want to enjoy the budget of the State of Israel and at the same time defy the State of Israel and harm its sovereignty.”

“Whoever sees themselves as Palestinian will get any help they need from us for a one-way trip to Gaza,” Cohen added.

According to leaks from the ministers’ meeting during the debate over the bill, Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope) clashed with Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), after the latter declared that flag-waving did not disturb anyone.

Although Palestinian flags have sometimes been prohibited or confiscated by police, they are not illegal.

The legislative push, which came amid heightened tensions ahead of Sunday’s nationalist Flag March for Jerusalem Day, follows criticism of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev after Palestinian flags were displayed during a recent rally at the school in Beersheba.

Responding to the criticism, the university noted in a statement that the events showed that students from all segments of Israeli society at the campus were able to “hold different opinions and views.”

Universities will not be the only institutions affected by the bill, which would target any state-funded institutions, such as cultural institutions, that choose to raise the flag.

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