A banner hung by a left-wing group in Tel Aviv displaying an Israeli and a Palestinian flag and welcoming US President Joe Biden to Israel will continue to fly, the peace group announced Monday.
The Peace Now organization took to social media to announce that the Tel Aviv Municipality had rescinded a request made earlier Monday to remove the banner, which reads: “President Biden, welcome to the two states we love the most,” alongside the two flags.
“Congratulations to Ron Huldai, who chose to stand against pressure from the extreme right and sided with the right to freedom of expression,” Peace Now tweeted.
Biden is set to land at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday for a visit that will include Israel and the West Bank, before leaving for Saudi Arabia on Friday for a Saturday meeting with regional Mideast leaders as part of the GCC+3 summit (the Gulf Cooperation Council — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, along with Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan).
The visit carries the hope of some form of breakthrough in ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but there are few hopes of a renewed peace push between Israel and the Palestinians, despite efforts by activists to move it to the top of the agenda.
The waving of the Palestinian flag is a divisive issue in Israel, with right-wingers considering it a symbol of terrorism, while those on the left consider it a legitimate symbol of a future Palestinian state.
Earlier this year, right-wing lawmakers led a legislative push to ban Palestinian flags, following criticism of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, after the flags were displayed during a rally at the school in Beersheba.
The law to ban the display of flags belonging to enemies of the State of Israel at government-funded institutions appeared in the Knesset in May, but did not clear the necessary legislative hurdles before the parliament was dissolved at the end of June.
In a display similar to the Peace Now banner, a Palestinian flag was hung alongside an Israeli flag in June in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, with a sign reading “We were meant to live together,” in Hebrew and Arabic.
The banner was taken down after less than a day after sparking social media criticism and public calls by lawmakers for its removal.
The display was organized by Mehazkim, a left-wing group focused on getting progressive messages into the public sphere, as a protest against the controversial bill.