Creating new perspectives since 2009

UK Home Secretary: Flying Palestinian flag ‘may not be legitimate’ 

October 11, 2023 at 7:03 pm

Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman leaves at Downing Street after attending the Weekly Cabinet Meeting in London, United Kingdom on September 12, 2023 [Raşid Necati Aslım/Anadolu Agency]

The UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, issued a warning that public display of Palestinian flags in British streets “may not be legitimate” any longer.

In a letter addressed to chief constables in England and Wales, she indicated that the act of waving the flag might not be considered legitimate if it Is perceived as endorsing terrorism.

Braverman emphasised that, while there are valid reasons for expressing solidarity with Palestinians, there are actions that may violate the boundaries defined by the Terrorism Act and the Public Order Act.

She cited instances of protest activities that she believes could potentially constitute violations of public order, such as targeting Jewish communities, displaying symbols associated with pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas sentiments, and engaging in chants that might be considered as anti-Israeli.

Braverman urged law enforcement to apply the “full force of the law” against any demonstrations or displays showing support for Hamas and any actions that aim to intimidate the Jewish community in the UK amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

WATCH: Israeli flag torn down from UK town hall 

Moreover, the UK Home Secretary emphasised the importance of maintaining public order during these demonstrations. Following a protest by pro-Palestinian activists outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington on Monday, who chanted “From the river to the sea,” Braverman noted that this phrase should be interpreted as a call for the elimination of Israel.

“Of course, it is not just explicit pro-Hamas symbols and chants that are cause for concern. I would encourage police to consider whether chants such as ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world, and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence,” she said.

This slogan is frequently chanted to describe the aspiration for a unified Palestinian State extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood at dawn on Saturday. This was apparently in response to “the continuing attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people, their property, and their sanctities, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem.”

In retaliation, Israel launched ongoing air strikes causing death and destruction on a massive scale in mainly civilian areas of the besieged territory.

READ: UK press regulator urged to intervene over Sky News journalist’s ‘Israel had it coming’ remark