Palestinian flag

Palestinian flag

The Palestinian flag ( _ar. علم فلسطين) was originally designed by Sharif Hussein for the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1916. In 1917, it was raised as the flag of the Arab National movement. On October 18, 1948, the all-Palestine Government readopted the flag in Gaza and the Arab League subsequently recognized it as the flag of the Palestinian people. It was again officially adopted as the flag of the Palestinian people by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964. On November 15, 1988 the PLO adopted the flag as the flag of the State of Palestine. Today the flag is flown widely by Palestinians and their supporters. [PASSIA: [ The Meaning of the Flag] , Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi Quote: "The Palestinian people raised it as the flag of the Arab National movement in 1917. In 1947, the Arab Ba'ath Party interpreted the flag as a symbol of the liberation and unity of the Arab nation. The Palestinian people readopted the flag at the Palestinian conference in Gaza in 1948. The flag was recognized by the Arab League as the flag of the Palestinian people. It was further endorsed by the PLO, the representative of the Palestinians, at the Palestinian conference in Jerusalem in 1964."] [ United Nations Security Council: The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question ( [!OpenDocument S/PV.5077] ) Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General: " [Arafat] with the trademark kaffiyeh epitomized Palestinian identity and national aspirations, even more than the Palestinian flag or the national anthem."] [Flags of the World: [ Palestine] Quote: "The Palestinian flag represents all Palestinian Arab aspirations regardless of party."] [ [ Palestinian Psychological Operations: The First Intifada] by Jamie Efaw Quote: "An example of a common, obvious symbolism came in the form of the Palestinian flag. [...] the flag and the colors transmitted the message to all target audiences the underlying theme of the entire Intifada—Palestinian nationalism. The flag, the symbol of Palestinian nationalism, was ubiquitous in the occupied territories."]

The flag is constituted of three equal horizontal stripes (black, white and green from top to bottom) overlaid by a red isosceles right triangle issuing from the hoist. (See Pan-Arab colors.) The flag is almost identical to that of the Baath Party and very similar to the flags of Western Sahara, Sudan and Jordan; all of these draw their ultimate inspiration from the flag of the Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule (1916-1918), which had the same graphic form, but the colours were arranged differently than in the modern flags (white on the bottom rather than in the middle).

Description and meaning

The black, white and green bands of the Arab Revolt banner represents, according to King Hussein's website, the Arab Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid dynasties respectively, while the crimson triangle joining the bands represents the Hashemite dynasty. []

Another opinion claims the origin of the Arab Revolt flag to a group of Arab Activists at the Arab Intellectual Council in Istanbul, around 1909-1911, who created a banner for their council with the four colors and the following poem written within it:

"Ask the high rising spears, of our aspirations" "Bring witness the swords, did we lose hope" "We are a band, honor halts our souls" "Of beginning with harm, those who won’t harm us" "White are our deeds, black are our battles," "Green are our fields, red are our swords."
(Safi al-Din al-Hili, poet)

Other opinions claim the following meanings to the colors


The Red triangle is supposed to encompass, or join, the three other color bands of the flag. Beside the reference to the above poem, Red is associated with the Hashemite, Ashrafs of the Hejaz, who led the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman rule. Along the Islamic history the first red banners were of the Khwarij revolts against the Rashid and Umayyad rule. Red was also the colour of the Arab tribes who participated in the conquest of North Africa and Andalusia. The colour red was also later adopted by the Islamic rulers of Andalusia (756–1355).


Since pre-Islamic times, the black flag has been a symbol of war. The Islamic prophet Muhammad used to have a black war banner called "Al-Uqab", along with the white flag. The use of the black banner might have continued throughout the Rashid Era of the four rulers (Khalifa) who ruled after the prophet’s death. The Abbasid Dynasty (750–1258) adopted black, in their successful efforts to overthrow the Umayyad, as a claim of them being the true heir to the rule of the Islamic State, and might have been to gain ground with those who used black to mourn the killing of Hussein bin Ali, Muhammad's grandson in the Battle of Karbala.


The Umayyad Dynasty (661–750) used white as their colour. The first flag of Muhammad was a white cloth. It might have been during the first battle at Badr. Today, white is the colour associated with monarchist movements.


Green was the colour of the Fatimid Dynasty, allegedly adopted in allegiance to Prophet Mohammad's cousin Ali, who allegedly once disguised himself in a green coverlet in order to evade an attempt on Muhammad’s life.


In 1967, the state of Israel banned the Palestinian flag. A 1980 law forbidding artwork of "political significance" banned artwork composed of its four colors.Fact|date=March 2008 Artist Vera Tamari alleged that Palestinians were arrested for creating such artwork. [ [ Ramallah Journal; A Palestinian Version of the Judgment of Solomon - New York Times ] ] [ [,11710,802769,00.html A culture under fire | | Arts ] ] [ [ The watermelon makes a colourful interlude - Opinion - ] ]

In Israeli public opinion there had been a prolonged debate on whether or not the ban applied to peace movement using the flags of Israel and Palestine combined, such as Gush Shalom. On some occasions activists wearing badges with such symbols were detained by police and prosecuted. Fact|date=March 2008

Since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, the ban has been relaxed, but is still occasionally enforced. [cite web |url= |title=Israel and the occupied territories |work=2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices |publisher=US Department of State}] [cite web |url= |title=Palestine — The Suppression of an Idea |author=Muhammad Hallaj |date=March 1982 |work=The Link - Volume 15, Issue 1 |publisher=Americans for Middle East Understanding]

British Mandate flag (1927-1948)

During the period of British rule, the Union Flag or Union Jack of the United Kingdom was the "de facto" British Mandate flag, but several localized flags existed for Mandate government departments and government officials. The only Palestine-specific flag not restricted to official government use was the Palestine ensign (red with the Union Jack in the canton, and a white circle on the fly with the mandate's name inside it), which was flown by ships registered in the British Mandate territory during the period 1927–1948. This flag had an extremely limited use on land, and was not embraced by either the Arabs or the Jews of the Palestine mandate territory. It was based on the British Red Ensign (civil ensign) instead of the Blue Ensign (used as the basis for the flags of nearly all other British territories in Africa and Asia), since it was only intended for use at sea. [ [ Civil Ensign 1927-1948 (British Mandate of Palestine)] at FOTW site] [ [ British Mandate of Palestine 1923-1948] at FOTW site]


External links

* [ The Meaning of the Flag at the website of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs]

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