Dueling Israel-Palestine protests take place outside of Rockland County office building
A pair of protests over the Israel-Hamas war took place outside of the Rockland County office Tuesday evening.
People at the pro-Palestine rally called on Clarkstown to remove an Israeli flag flying outside Town Hall.
This came after a 15-year-old was arrested for removing the flag on Thanksgiving. The teen has reached a plea deal in that case which is before a family court judge.
"Why is there only one flag? You can't choose a side here in America," said one pro-Palestinian protester who did not want to give her name out of fear of retaliation.
Supporters of Israel said the flag should be allowed to stay because it shows support for the Jewish people both in the Hudson Valley and abroad.
"The town supports Israel so they're allowed to put a flag up," said a New City resident who has family in Israel.
Town officials put the flag back up one day after it was taken down.
"We were showing solidarity," said Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann during an interview after the protests.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who said he does not have control of what local municipalities do with flags, said the county is only flying American, state, county and POW-MIA flags on its properties.
"The flying of flags outside of American, State, County, and POW-MIA are not allowed on our [property] as per a long-standing policy I established a number of years ago. Upon hearing about this inaccurate and wild accusation we reconfirmed with our Facilities manager that there are not, and have not been, any other unauthorized flags flown on our property," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day in a statement.
Hoehmann said the town was always planning to fly the Israeli flag through the end of this year and will continue to do so into January before eventually taking it down.
"There's a lot of connections with Israel in the Town of Clarkstown and we're going to continue to keep the flag up," he said.