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Did a former version of the official Palestinian flag have a Star of David on it?

Did a former version of the official Palestinian flag have a Star of David on it?

Since Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, multiple pro-Israeli accounts have been claiming the old official Palestinian flag used to harbour a Star of David – a symbol of Judaism. 

The image of the flag is half white and half blue with the Star of David in its centre. 

Трубочисты Петербурга

Euronews found other poststhat claim this flag was supposedly from 1939 and was found in an edition of the French Larousse encyclopedia from back then. 

Some use this as what they say is proof that even before the creation of the state of Israel, Palestine was already “recognised as a Jewish entity,» according to one Facebook user.

In 1939, the official Palestinian flag was a Union Jack

But in reality, that’s not the case. Following the First World War, Palestine found itself under British mandate in 1920. 

A status that ended with the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in May 1948.

That means that in 1939, the territory was still under British rule, which means the Union Jack was used as its official flag.

An example of a mandate-era flag from 1946 can be seen on the British Imperial War Museum’s website.

Minor variations of the flag were created for the High Commissioner (the head of the British government in the territory), for ships, and customs and postal services. 

The flag shown in the viral posts was never an official flag for the whole of mandate-era Palestine.

The Cube reached out to Tamir Sorek, a professor of Middle East history at Penn State University, who has written on the history of the Palestinian flag. 

“Based on its symbolism, I can tell with confidence that this particular design has never been used or proposed by anyone from within the Arab-Palestinian national movement,» wrote Sorek in an email exchange. 

«Since the emergence of the Zionist movement at the end of the 19th century, there have been many attempts to establish a representative flag, and this particular one looks like one of them,» he explained.

Tamir Sorek believes the viral flag in the social media posts looks similar to another flag proposed during a Jewish Youth Congress held in Livorno (Italy) in 1924.

«I have doubts it has been widely adopted by any Zionist circle,” he told Euronews. 

The present Palestinian flag was designed by Sharif Hussein for the Arab Revolt, an armed uprising against the Ottoman Empire in June 1916.

It was re-adopted in 1948, according to the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs.

We reached out to the Larousse encyclopedia publisher but they did not immediately respond to a request for comment concerning the authenticity of the viral image of the flag.


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