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  • The Palestine flag

    The Palestine flag | Photo: Reuters

European Broadcasting Union banned various flags during May's Eurovision song contest in Sweden that will be viewed by 200 million people.

A senior Palestinian official demanded the European Broadcasting Union reverse its decision to include the Palestinian flag among banned flags at next month's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden.

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Swedish officials published a list of banned flags, some of which are understandable, but in the case of Spain's Basque flag and Palestine's, has caused huge outrage.

"We call upon you to immediately revoke this shameful decision," Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat said Sunday in remarks directed to senior EBU officials. "It's also equally necessary for the European Broadcasting Union to apologize to Palestine and to millions of Palestinians around the world."

Palestinian statehood has been recognized by 138 countries—including this year's host Sweden—and the country's flag flies at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The EB0U published a list of banned flags last week. Among them were the flags of Northern Cyprus, Kosovo, Spain's Basque region and the self-styled "Islamic State" black banner.

In the case of Spain, EBU apologized after an angry reaction from the government in Madrid.

EBU insisted that flags they considered to be of "offensive, discriminatory, unsuitable, political or religious nature," will remain on the list. They did not mention what would be the case with the Palestine banner.

“The decision is totally biased and unacceptable,” wrote Erekat to the head of the EBU, Jean-Paul Philippot.

"The flag policy is not aimed against specific territories or organizations, and certainly does not compare them to each other," Eurovision spokesman Dave Goodman told the AFP.

The 61st annual pageant will begin next week in Stockholm as countries compete for the best song-and-dance act in front of a television audience of around 200 million worldwide.

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