Massachusetts Town Hoists Palestinian Flag Over Public Park

"It basically represents Hamas."
KHAN YOUNIS, GAZA STRIP - AUGUST 13: Palestinian boys flash v-sign next to a Palestinain national flag in front of the Israeli settlement of Navi Dakalem during early celebrations of Israel's imminent pull out from Gaza August 13, 2005 near the Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Palestinians attended the rally and hanged several of their national flags on the wall of the jewish settlement before the israeli soldiers opened fire around them. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)
Abid Katib/Getty Images

A Massachusetts town will fly the Palestinian flag over a public park for a month despite heated disagreement among residents.

The town of North Andover, about 25 miles north of Boston, on Monday approved a proposal to fly the Palestinian flag on the flagpole of the North Andover Town Common park.

The black, white, green, and red flag of the Palestinian Liberation Organization was hoisted on the park’s flagpole to fly below both the American flag and the POW/MIA (missing in action and prisoners of war) flag.

The flag is scheduled to remain flying in the park from Tuesday morning until December 7.

Dozens of people showed up at Monday’s Select Board meeting to express their opinions on raising the Palestinian flag. During the hour of public comment, residents spoke both in favor of and against flying the flag.

“It’s a big deal for us to see the Palestinian flag that many of us think represents the attempted genocide of the Jewish people,” Rabbi Idan Irelander said,  according to WHDH. “It basically represents Hamas, since they are the elected ruling party in Gaza.”

A supporter claimed to the outlet that the flag represents “a nation, the heritage of the people, their traditions, their culture and it doesn’t represent a terrorist group.”

A college student, Selma Khayal originally petitioned the town on October 16 to raise the Palestinian flag.

Previously, North Andover had flown the Israeli flag for nearly a month on the same park flagpole in the wake of the Palestinian terror group Hamas’ attack on Israeli citizens last month, according to the flag-raising permit obtained by the New York Post.

On October 7, Hamas launched deadly terrorist attacks on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people, including women and children. Israel has responded with airstrikes and a ground offensive.

Since the petition to fly the Palestinian flag, North Andover has updated its flag policy. The old policy allowed anyone to petition to fly any flag with approval from the Select Board. The flagpole was considered a “public forum.”

The new policy limits the flagpole to “statements of governmental speech only” and scraps the idea of the flagpole as a public forum.

“It is the policy of North Andover (Town) that its flag poles located at the Town Common are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public, but rather as expressions of the Town’s official sentiments,” the new policy states.

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