Soccer fan arrested for waving Palestinian flag at game; Ben Gvir: ‘Zero tolerance’

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

A fan of the soccer team Hapoel Umm al-Fahm has been arrested and questioned for waving a Palestinian flag at a match against Maccabi Haifa last Tuesday.

The police say that the 18-year old resident of Umm al-Fahm was arrested on Friday after an “operative and strenuous investigation” by police officers in the Umm al-Fahm police station.

The individual waved the flag at the beginning of the game, played in Umm al-Fahm’s stadium, which the police said was likely to disturb public order.

The suspect was released with restrictions by the police after being questioned.

Several media reports after the game noted that the flag had been waved, and a Ynet report said it had “aroused the anger of the guests and that of the fans in the stadium,” although there was no mention of violence or disturbances as a result of the incident.

There is currently no law against flying the Palestinian flag, but the police make arrests for doing so on the claim that the flag is likely to lead to a disturbance of the peace, a policy that National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai reiterated to police officers in January.

Ben Gvir praised the police for arresting the individual, saying, “On my watch someone who stokes the flames and supports terrorism will be dealt with severely and with zero tolerance.”

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