Selective Enforcement: Repeal of Ban on Flag Hoisting

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This policy paper was written in the aftermath of the serious events that transpired at the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh, which apart from hitting a new moral low highlighted the need for a specific amendment of the law.

Abu-Akleh, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera channel, was killed by gunfire on 11 May 2022 while reporting on clashes and fire exchanges between Israeli troops and armed Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. The question of who is responsible for her death remains in dispute, and both Israel and the Palestinians have launched separate investigations into the circumstances of her killing. Her funeral on Friday, 13 May 2022, set out from St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem to Mount Zion Cemetery in the Old City. Due to her renown as a journalist who covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years, her status as a Palestinian national symbol, and the circumstances of her death, thousands joined the funeral procession, some of them waving Palestinian flags. Media reports of the massive event show that Israel Police’s Jerusalem District officers on the scene used batons to forcibly disperse the mourners. They beat people in the legs, used riot control gear, and even attacked the pallbearers until they almost fell to the ground. Moreover, police officers reportedly went to Abu-Akleh’s home and demanded from family members to remove Palestinian flags hoisted on the house.

The violent dispersal of Abu-Akleh’s funeral soon became the top media story in Israel and around the world. Broadcast videos of the event indicate that the violence perpetrated by the police was partly related to the hoisting of Palestinian flags. The filmed documentation exposed people in Israel and around the world to the violent and provocative conduct of Israeli policemen toward the Palestinians in East Jerusalem who live in occupied territory annexed by Israel and have neither citizenship nor national or other rights. In addition, the event underscored Israel Police’s selective use of the dry letter of the law to ban the hoisting of the Palestinian flag. Under Article 82 of the Police Ordinance, flag hoisting may be banned if it is perceived to disrupt public safety. In practice, the law is enforced primarily in East Jerusalem, in Palestinian neighborhoods, and in demonstrations, amid violation of human rights and freedom of protest, and therefore should be deleted from the law books of the State of Israel.

Photo: Oren Ziv


Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.