Protesters display images of watermelons in Tel Aviv to challenge Israel’s criminalisation of the Palestinian flag – Middle East Monitor

Protesters in Tel Aviv yesterday displayed posters of watermelons with the text “This is not a Palestinian flag,” to challenge the Israeli authorities who arrested people for waving the Palestinian flag in public.

Arranged by the left-wing Zazim group, the protest saw the images pasted onto 16 shared taxi vans that drove across the city all day.

Zazim’s Executive Director, Raluca Ganea, said: “Our message to the government is clear: we will always find a way to circumvent any absurd ban and we will not stop fighting for freedom of expression and democracy – whether it is the pride flag or the Palestinian flag.”

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Despite no law criminalising banning the flag of Palestine, Israeli soldiers conduct arrests claiming the flag disturbs the peace.

According to the Times of Israel, a woman was arrested during the Haifa Pride march for waving a Palestinian flag, a policy which National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai reiterated to police officers in January.

It comes after the proposal for a law, put forward by Ben-Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, which stipulates that three or more people waving the flag of a “hostile entity” will be considered a crime and, therefore, punishable by up to one year in prison.

According to Haaretz, the bill, which requires three additional votes to pass, will also enable Israeli authorities to criminalise and disband protests held by Palestinians.

The bill comes after Israel’s Knesset passed the preliminary reading of a controversial bill last year that would ban flying the Palestinian flag in state-funded institutions.

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