The Hamsa Flag

A flag for envisioning the future of Israel-Palestine, Jewish-Muslim solidarity, Mizrahi-Sephardi histories. A flag of peace, resistance, and imagination.

Tom Haviv first imagined the Hamsa Flag in 2009 while reading an essay in the New York Times about a proposed one-state solution in Israel | Palestine.

“I was struck by what I saw as a design flaw intrinsic to the conflict: the design of the flags themselves, distinctly representing both peoples’ states and claims, was blocking our political imagination and forming yet another obstacle in the path toward civil rights, justice, and peace.” 

As soon as the thought came to him, the symbol followed: the Hamsa. It was a glyphic symbol that naturally bypassed otherwise sharp, even deadly, borders of history, culture, and identity. In its simplicity and depth it felt like it had the power to unify, to create surprising kinships. It was instinctive, intuitive, and absolutely clear.

This was the natural symbol of the merging two peoples: the open palm.

The Design

In some craft traditions, a turquoise stone is used as an eye at the center of the palm of the hamsa. In the case of this flag, the turquoise eye has been expanded and abstracted into the all-embracing background, creating an ocean or horizon of activated turquoise behind the open copper palm, its elemental source. The hamsa in this formation is designed to represent a vast, shifting, hybrid community of many tribes (and beyond the very notion of tribe), of many nations (and beyond the very notion of nation), all emerging from a common elemental source.

“Ultimately I felt a flag was necessary because a movement would be necessary, because we need flags of peace and resistance, flags of the imagination, flags that can say things we cannot yet articulate in words.”

The Hamsa flag is not designed as a reaction, or to be further entangled in the dialectic of Jew and non-Jew. It is designed with the hope of challenging and ultimately dismantling the violent binaries that underlie the crisis in Israel | Palestine—and increasingly around the world—and to set the stage for something new. A world to come.

Read more about the project’s journey in these essays published in PROTOCOLS and UNRULY.
Hebrew & Arabic translations on the Facebook Page under Our Story
Find the Hamsa Flag on Instagram.