It is a wet and dreary February afternoon in Union City, the compact and densely populated township sitting on the New Jersey bank of the Hudson River. The rain leaves the streets deserted. Outside the North Bergen mayor’s office, a group of some 50 people cower under their umbrellas and crowd around the flagpoles to the left of the main entrance. The American flag is already raised atop the most prominent pole on the small patch of grass.
A new flag runs up the post behind immediately behind it. The crowd cheer and clap. When it reaches the summit, some climb onto the elevated bank and take selfies with their friends or children. The low wind takes some time to coax the flag from its entanglement, but eventually, the white, green and black stripes and the red triangle of the Palestinian flag are revealed.