Israel’s new far-right government has been accused of trying to “topple” the recognised Palestinian Authority after it announced a slew of new sanctions and banned the waving of Palestinian flags in public.
In recent days, Israel has withheld millions of dollars of Palestinian tax revenues, stripped Palestinian officials of VIP privileges and broken up a meeting of Palestinian parents discussing their children’s education. Late on Sunday, Israel’s firebrand security minister banned public displays of the Palestinian flag. It has ignited further concerns about the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which is deemed the most religious and hardline cabinet in Israeli history.
The Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said the Israeli measures came in response to a Palestinian appeal for United Nations for help, and are “aimed at toppling the authority and pushing it to the brink financially and institutionally”.
“We consider these measures a new war against the Palestinian people, their capabilities and funds, and a war against the national authority, its survival and its achievements,” Mr Shtayyeh said during his weekly cabinet meeting. Late on Sunday, Israel’s security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir – a far-right firebrand who assumed office last month – announced the controversial step to ban Palestinian flag-waving.
Mr Shtayyeh said the move blocked “even the most non-violent ways of fighting the occupation”. Ahmad Aldeek, assistant to the Palestinian foreign minister, said: “The Israeli government is waging an open war on the symbols and components of the State of Palestine ... This increases our insistence in pursuing the Israeli government and putting it on trial in all international forums”.