The Palestinian flag will be raised at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno, city councilmember Miguel Arias announced at Thursday’s city council meeting.
Eaton Plaza is designated for community flag-raising events, the city code says. The raising of flags there does not require approval from the city council or the city manager.
The event is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Led by Mayor Jerry Dyer, the city raised the Israeli flag at Eaton Plaza on Oc. 12, five days after Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israel. The flag-raising sparked outrage among local Palestinians and their supporters.
Hamas, which governs Palestinians in Gaza, has been declared a terrorist organization by the United States and other western nations. The Oct. 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and roughly 240 were taken hostage. An estimated 175 hostages remain in Hamas’ hands.
Israel’s military response to the attack has taken the lives of an estimated 16,200 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and the displacement of nearly 2 million people.
Critics of Israel Speak at Council Meeting
Critics of Israel spoke at Thursday’s city council meeting during public comment. Several used the phrase “from the river to the sea,” which is interpreted as the goal of wiping out Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The members also want an official city council proclamation demanding a cease-fire.
Arias met with members of the Palestinian community Monday night. His office said he had no formal role in the flag-raising organization, other than to help facilitate the request with the city.
“We created that space so that anyone wishing to raise a flag would be able to do so in a public space and express their constitutional rights. They found a council sponsor and it’s going to be raised tomorrow,” councilmember Mike Karbassi told GV Wire.
Dyer, through his office, declined to comment.
City Flag Policy
The city set policies to fly flags at City Hall and other city-owned facilities, including Eaton Plaza, on Sept. 29, 2022,
The city installed flag poles at the plaza for community events.
“The Eaton Plaza flag poles are intended as a forum for pubic expression, and are not intended to express the opinions or position of the City,” the policy stated.
Requirements are a request to the Office of Special Events at least 30 days in advance. Flag raising must also comply with city Administrative Order 8-9 which mainly deals with how other flags are flown in relation to the American flag — such as the American flag is raised first and lowered last.
The policy does not appear to allow anyone to reject the request, such as the city manager.