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Palestinian flag flying over North Andover town common continues to cause controversy

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — In North Andover, dozens of American flags line Main Street. But at the town common, there is one flag everyone is talking about.

It is a Palestinian flag, and it is flying right beneath the American and POW-MIA flags.

“When I first drove by it, it made me stick to my stomach,” said Paul Partridge of North Andover.

Monday night, after heated debate, the town’s select board unanimously voted to allow the Palestinian flag to fly on the town common until December 7th.

The Israeli flag flew here, immediately after the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel, and the request to fly the Palestinian flag was accepted just hours before the town changed its flag policy, which will no longer allow this.

Early Tuesday morning, a group of Palestinian Americans watched as the Palestinian flag was raised over North Andover’s town common.

“This flag is there to represent all the victims everywhere, for peace, for love for our neighborhoods,” said Fawaz Abusharkh of the Palestinian House of New England.

Soon after the flag was put up, someone attached a derogatory sign against Palestine to the pole.

North Andover Police quickly removed it.

“I’m not surprised, it’s a very heated debate. But I’m glad they took it down, that’s not right,” said North Andover resident Rhonda Duddy.

But through the day North Andover Police were called to the common, clearly feelings remain strong.

Meanwhile, a North Andover rabbi said he is disappointed the Palestinian flag was put up, but he said the fight over flying it, is over.

“We need to move on, move on. We are looking to Hanukkah now which is the holiday of miracles,” said Rabbi Idan Irelander of Congregation Ahavat Olam.

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