Israeli police will operate a zero-tolerance policy against any display of Palestinian flags by Celtic supporters at tonight’s Champions League play-off round, second leg fixture in Beersheba.
Celtic are facing a disciplinary hearing from Uefa on 22 September after being charged for displaying an “illicit banner” in last week’s first leg in Glasgow when many Palestinian flags were held up by home fans during the game against the Israeli champions.
It is not illegal to have a Palestinian flag in Israel but provocation by fans of either side is and we will not tolerate itMicky Rosenfeld
Around 300 travelling supporters are expected at the Turner Stadium in Beersheba, around 30 miles from the Gaza Strip in southern Israel, and will face a prominent police presence.
“This is a professional football game and not a political opportunity,” said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“It is not illegal to have a Palestinian flag in Israel but provocation by fans of either side is and we will not tolerate it.
“Any material that would cause incitement to violence would definitely not be permitted to be taken to the game to prevent any disturbances inside the stadium or outside.”
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers last night expressed his dismay at the disciplinary proceedings instigated by Uefa.
“The morals of Celtic is also based around respect and the club doesn’t take it lightly,” said Rodgers.
“Israel is a beautiful country with really great people and obviously the club has been charged which the club is disappointed with.
“But I can’t talk any more than that until, I suppose, towards the end of September.”