Biden Removed Israeli Flag During East Jerusalem Visit

Israeli officials decry implicit assault on sovereignty over eastern half of capital, which was recognized by Trump.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Jerusalem, Biden
The armored presidential limousine driving in eastern Jerusalem without an Israeli flag, July 14, 2022. Source: Twitter.

US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel was filled with warm, friendly rhetoric, smiles and handshakes, and not a few tears. And no one doubts the sincerity behind it all. But the visit was also punctuated by subtle, sometimes unspoken messages and actions there were concerning.

Already before Biden arrived Israelis were uneasy about his plan to meet with Palestinians absent any Israeli representation in eastern Jerusalem.

The message to Israelis and Palestinians was clear: Jerusalem is still on the negotiating table, former US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s undivided capital notwithstanding.

And that message was driven home a day later when the media released photos showing that Biden had the Israeli flag removed from his limousine before driving to Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives.

Some Israeli officials were openly outraged.

“Today’s pictures of [Biden’s] limousine, on its way to east Jerusalem, without the Israeli flag that has been flying at its helm until now, highlights the message he is trying to send: that the sovereignty of Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital, is on the table for negotiation,” complained former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

Danon had earlier pleaded with Biden in an open letter to cancel the divisive visit to eastern Jerusalem.

Some American lawmakers also called out the president.

Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) stressed that official US policy is that the entirety of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and Biden shouldn’t be sending mixed signals on the matter.

When meeting later that same day with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Biden reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution, but would not meet Palestinian demands that he openly commit to eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

See: Battle for Jerusalem – Palestinians See Opportunity in Biden Visit

White House officials did later confirm, however, that Biden told the Palestinians the final status of Jerusalem still needs to be negotiated. As far as Israel is concerned, that is not the case.

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