Germany has agreed to ban the flag of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, citing a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents following Israel's recent assault on the Gaza Strip.
According to a report by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, the plan to ban the flag of the group which was voted into government in free elections in 2006, was initially proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union party (CDU).
After first opposing the ban due to constitutional concerns, its coalition partner – the centre-left Social Democratic Party – finally gave its backing to the decision.
Thorsten Frei, the deputy parliamentary spokesman for the CDU, is reported to have stated: "We do not want the flags of terrorist organizations to be waved on German soil." He called the ban a "clear signal to our Jewish citizens."
The move comes after Germany's Central Council of Jews called for increased protection of the country's Jewish community and the cracking down on pro-Palestinian protestors last month, particularly following pro-Palestinian protests across Europe which many said were anti-Semitic.
The ban on Hamas' flag comes over a year after Berlin banned the political wing of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and its activities. Months after that ban, it was revealed that the United States pressured the German government into enacting it.