NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - The flag of Palestine was flying over the town common in North Andover on Tuesday, a day after a lively Select Board meeting.

Dozens of people crowded into North Andover High School on Monday to voice their opinions during the meeting, where flying the Palestinian flag above Town Common was ultimately approved.

The request to fly the flag on the Town Common flag pole was approved after about an hour of public comment, during which those gathered spoke both in favor of and against flying the flag amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“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,” said Rabbi Idan Irelander. “It basically represents Hamas, since they are the elected ruling party in Gaza.”

One supporter said, “It’s a flag that represents its people, it’s a flag that represents a nation, the heritage of the people, their traditions, their culture and it doesn’t represent a terrorist group.”

The application to the fly the flag came after an Israeli flag had flown on the Common for about a month following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

The flag will now be flown on the Common from Tuesday morning to Dec. 7.

The town’s policy on flag flying recently changed, limiting use of public flag poles to government speech, but the Palestinian flag application was submitted hours before the change took place, translating to the board having to approve it.

“They also made a statement (saying) that it doesn’t reflect their beliefs, so it doesn’t mean that they necessarily wanted this to happen, but they had to it under the law because it is our right,” a supporter of the flag told reporters on Tuesday near the flag pole.

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