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Historical Flags (Palestine)

Last modified: 2020-12-18 by ian macdonald
Keywords: palestine | historical | unidentified flag |
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Chronological Overview (see detailed information below)

[Ottoman Empire]
[British Mandate of Palestine and Transjordan]
Ottoman Empire -1916
British Mandate of Palestine and (pre-1923) Transjordan 1916-1948
Egypt / Israel / Jordan
(partition) 1948-1967
[Palestinian Authority]
[Palestinian Authority]
Israel (occupation) 1967-
Palestinian Authority 1994-2006 (partial; concurrent with occupation)
Palestinian Authority 2006- (partial; concurrent with occupation)

(click on flags to view detailed information and image credits)

See also:

Ottoman Empire -1916

[Ottoman Palestine until 1916]
image by Željko Heimer, 02 Mar 1999

Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire and used the Ottoman flag.
Santiago Dotor, 18 Oct 2000

Palestine and Transjordan 1916-1923

[Union Flag (Palestine and Transjordan 1916-1923)] 1:2
image by Clay Moss, 16 Dec 2006

The British took Jerusalem in December 1916. The Allied Supreme Council created a British mandate on 25 April 1920 and the League of Nations approved it 24 July 1922. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, providing for a Jewish national home, applied to Palestine, but not Transjordan. Transjordan was separated from Palestine as an autonomous state on 26 May 1923.
T.F. Mills, 16 Dec 1997

Dome of the Rock flag, 1920s

[Dome of the Rock flag, 1920s] image located by Bill Garrison, 27 October 2020

source: [see p. 55]

citation: "The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj M. Amin al-Husseini/Husayni (center: dark jacket) presenting a Palestinian flag (with a "Dome of the Rock" or "Qubbat al-Sakhra" image on the center white stripe) to Maulana/Mawlana Shaukat/Shawkat Ali (left: tall man wearing black karakul hat and double-breasted jacket). M.S. Ali was the Muslim leader of the "Khilafat [Caliphate] Movement" in India, c. 1919-1922. Some sources claim that this flag existed between 1900-1911, but that is doubtful as "Palestine" was still part of the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), which didn't dissolve until the Treaty of Sèvres in August 1920. Thereafter, much of the "Palestine" region was split between the French control of Syria, with the majority going to the British-administered "Mandate of Palestine". So this flag was probably developed after 1920. Although both men had met in India in early 1924, this photo was probably taken in mid-December 1931 in Jerusalem upon the "Temple Mount" or "al-Haram al-Sharif", when al-Husseini and M.S. Ali sponsored the "World Islamic Conference" there.
Bill Garrison, 27 October 2020

Paramilitary Flag, 1938

[1938 Paramilitary Flag (Palestine)] 1:2
image by Santiago Dotor and Eugene Ipavec, 09 Oct 2007

José Manuel Erbez reported in the Spanish Vexilologia mailing list a variant of the Palestinian flag used in 1938 during the Arab revolt (scan here). The flag displays a crescent and cross on the hoist triangle, probably representing the Muslim-Christian union against Jewish settlement. José Manuel Erbez mentioned the picture showing the flag appeared in a history magazine, I believe it is Historia y Vida, June 2002, p. 3, Mundo Revistas S.A., Barcelona. If I remember correctly (I had a look at the magazine weeks ago) there is some Arabic lettering on the bottom stripe. I would guess the flag was home-made.
The crescent and cross emblem recalls that used on a green flag in the 1919 Egyptian revolution (image in Smith 1975 [smi75c]).
Santiago Dotor, 25 Jun 2002

The Arab Revolt was between 1936 and 1939 and is known in Israel as Me'ora'ot TARTZAV-TARTZAT (i.e. 5696-5699 Events). The Arabs were organized in paramilitary groups (known as "the gangs") with very loose connction between each other and between them and the Arab leadership in Jerusalem. There was no coordination or supreme command and each "gang" was led by a local leader. The "pose" in front of the camera and the flag, suggest this is one of the "gangs" and the flag is probably used by this gang. I saw some photos with flags used in this era, and those were all based on the same flag but bear different inscriptions and emblems. I guess that all bought or received the same basic flag and each gang added elements as it (or probably its leader) saw fit.
Dov Gutterman, 25 Jun 2002

"All-Palestine Government," 1948

[1948 'All-Palestine Government' Flag (Palestine)]
image by Filip Van Laenen, 03 Nov 1996

In March 1948, following the evacuation of the British forces from Gaza, the "All-Palestine Government," presided over by Ahmad Hilmi Pasha, declared the establishment of a Palestinian state and chose the Arab flag as its formal national flag. This flag was raised in Gaza until the arrival of the Egyptian army in the area two months later. (Qassimiya 1970: 29-33)

Quoted from "The Orange And The 'Cross in The Crescent:' Imagining Palestine in 1929" (PDF) by Tamir Sorek

From the PASSIA (Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs) home page:

Sharif Hussein designed the current flag as the flag of the Arab Revolt on June 1916. The Palestinian people raised it as the flag of the Arab National movement in 1917. In 1947, the Arab Ba'ath Party interpreted the flag as a symbol of the liberation and unity of the Arab nation. The Palestinian people readopted the flag at the Palestinian conference in Gaza in 1948. The flag was recognized by the Arab League as the flag of the Palestinian people. It was further endorsed by the PLO, the representative of the Palestinians, at the Palestinian conference in Jerusalem in 1964.
See Origin of the Pan-Arab Colours for the full text.
Quoted from "Evolution of the Arab Flag" by Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Amman, Feb 1986.

Today a news article out of Israel informs us that at a meeting last week between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas at the former's official residence in Jerusalem, the Palestinian flag flew, for the first time, alongside the Israeli one.
Nathan Lamm, 29 Dec 2006

"Bloody Palestine" Protest Flag, 1955

[1955 'Bloody Palestine' Protest Flag (Palestine)]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 Jan 2008

In 1952, following the Free Officers’ coup in Egypt, the Arab flag was re-raised on public buildings alongside the Egyptian flag. In 1955, Ya’qub Khuri, the director of the Palestine department in the Arab League, suggested adding another flag to represent Palestine – the word "Palestine" in red on a white background, which would symbolise the bloody state of Palestine. This flag was raised indeed in the Palestinian offices in the Arab League until it was removed due to the protest of the Prime Minister of the "All-Palestine Government" (Qassimiya 1970: 29–33).

Quoted from "The Orange And The 'Cross in The Crescent:' Imagining Palestine in 1929" (PDF) by Tamir Sorek

Palestine 1964-2006

[Palestine] 1:2
image by Santiago Dotor

The flag specifications laid down in a decree of 1 December 1964 said that the triangle's length is half of its height. So it is 1/4th of the flag's length, and Album des Pavillons 2000 is correct. The colours are not specified in that decree. (...) The flag's ratio is 1:2. As far as I know the decree is still in force or even was confirmed in 1994. You can see the flags with such triangles in every TV report and on photographs. The triangle is nearly always the same [shape], even when the flag is shorter (2:3 or whatever).
Ralf Stelter, 23-24 Jan 2001

The pre-2006 flag had the triangle prescribed to reach fly-wise 1/2 of its width (base), i.e. 1/4 of the flag length. The 2006 legislation changed the flag description so that the triangle is reaching 1/3 of the flag length. The construction sheet differs in that the dimension indicated by 3 is replaced with 4 (and then everything should be halved :)
Željko Heimer, 21 Jan 2012

Construction Sheet

[Construction Sheet - Palestine] 1:2
image by Santiago Dotor and Eugene Ipavec, 15 Jan 2008