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Arabs Wave PLO Flag in the Center of Haifa

Jewish demonstrators who held a quiet rally in Haifa were shocked when Arab demonstrators responded - by waving the PLO flag.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/9/2013, 1:13 AM

PLO flag (archive)
PLO flag (archive)
Flash 90

Jewish demonstrators who held a quiet rally with Israeli flags in Haifa on Saturday were shocked when Arab demonstrators responded - by waving the PLO flag.

One of the Jewish protesters, who asked not be named, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that the Jewish rally was meant to counter a pro-Palestinian Authority Arab protest that took place a few weeks ago in the German Colony neighborhood in the center of Haifa. During that protest, he said, some 2,000 protesters smashed the windowpanes of nearby stores and left the area in a mess.

In response, local Jewish residents launched an initiative to “raise the morale” and march with the Israeli flag. A group of demonstrators arrived in the same area on Saturday night and, while waving Israeli flags, started marching and singing.

As the group members were making their way to the German Colony, said the demonstrator, an Arab on the other side of the road started cursing the Jewish demonstrators.

"We did not respond [to the cursing],” said the demonstrator, adding that a few moments later the same Arab returned and this time threw an ice cream cone that was in his hand at one of the Jewish demonstrators.

However, said the protester, the incident did not end there. Suddenly, he recalled, a group of about 30 to 40 Arabs arrived on the scene and waved a large PLO flag. Police officers who were on hand, he told Arutz Sheva, did not do anything other than ensuring that the Jewish demonstrators did not go near the PLO flag wavers.

The protester noted that the Jewish demonstrators intend to continue to hold rallies with Israeli flags in the area.

The incident is not the first time that PLO flags have been spotted in Israel. Last month, visitors at a Jerusalem hotel were greeted by a PLO flag waving alongside the flags of European countries and the U.S.

Curious visitors who inquired at the desk as to the meaning of the flag's presence were told that the PA flag was there because an event involving them was taking place at the hotel.

When asked what that event was, the staff said that it was “a secret,” and they were not permitted to divulge it.

Residents of the city of Lod have complained about seeing the PLO flag in the center of the city on a regular basis. Police officials told Arutz Sheva that the flying of the PLO flag was part of a weekly Arab march in a central part of the city, and that these marches usually pass without incident.

Just last week, Bedouin and leftist activists who were protesting against the "Prawer-Begin Plan" to organize Bedouin residence in the Negev waved PLO flags as well.