Palestinian flags were waved in a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on August 11, 2018. It is time to talk about this flag and what it represents.
The flag that is considered the flag of Palestine today was based on Hashemite flags first unfurled in the 1920s in Damascus as the flag of Hashemite Syria and in the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz (an area of Saudi Arabia today). Even after the Hashemite kingdom was replaced by Syrian nationalist regimes and other flags were waved, the Syrian Baath party preserved the original flag of Syria, which is today the flag of Palestine.
After the Hashemite kingdom collapsed in Damascus, the officers who became the first Palestinian leadership returned to the land that they defined as “Southern Syria,” together with the flag. The Hashemite emirate across the Jordan adopted the same flag with a star.
This flag does not symbolize anything that is specific to the land of Palestine, but rather the history of the Arabs and Islam: the Umayyad caliphate – white; the Hashemites – red; the Abbasid caliphate and Mohammed – black; and Islam – green. (The Hamas and Saudi flags are predominantly green, representing Islam.)
The Palestinian flag symbolizes the essence of the Palestinian national movement as a pan-Arab and pan-Islamic movement, which, like other pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic movements, do not accept anyone different from themselves – neither the Kurds in Syria nor the Jews in Israel. This is its problem – and ours.