New Colors at UN Headquarters

RAMALLAH, September 6, 2015 (WAFA) – Back in May, it was the first time Palestine’s flag flew high in the Vatican City, when President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis.

But now, both Palestine and the Holy See, the only two countries to have a “Non-Member Observer State” status, are eager to see their flags waving at the largest international body, the United Nations, pending a formal resolution.

Palestinians are therefore enthusiastically looking forward to seeing their national flag waving at international organizations, and are waiting for a “yes” by the majority of the UN member states to reach a resolution UN is due to vote on a resolution that, among its provisions, will allow the flags of non-Member Observer States to be raised at the UN headquarters and offices.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, opposed the move, and said the Palestinians were “attempting to change longstanding protocols and traditions” of the UN.

Palestinians are looking forward to having their flag fly at this avenue, where resolutions of worldwide significance are taken, and where Palestine’s bid for a non-Member Observer State status was once made a success.

The Palestine flag is similar to the Flag of the Arab Revolt, and is used to represent the Palestinian people. It is a combination of three equal horizontal stripes (black, white, and green from top to bottom) overlaid by a red triangle issuing from the hoist. These are the Pan-Arab colors.

Prior to being the flag of the Palestinian people, it was the flag of the short lived Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan. The flag of the Arab Revolt had the same graphic form, but the colors were arranged differently (white on the bottom, rather than in the middle).

In 1948, the flag of the Arab Revolt was adopted by the All-Palestine Government, and was recognized subsequently by the Arab League as the flag of Palestine. A modified version has been used in Palestine at least since the late 1930s and was 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.

In 1967, immediately following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel banned the Palestinian flag in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank.

A 1980 law forbidding artwork of ‘political significance’ also banned artwork composed of its four colors, and Palestinians were arrested for displaying such artwork. The ban was nonetheless abolished after the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.