Why Germany and France Boycotted 4th of July Party in Jerusalem

The decision was particularly embarrassing after the Biden Administration opened a new page in relations with the EU

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: Jerusalem
US Embassy in Jerusalem
Some European allies still don't accept that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The Ambassadors of Germany and France boycotted the reception of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on the occasion of US Independence Day due to allegations that it was located in East Jerusalem.

 

Diplomatic embarrassment

Senior EU Ambassadors to Israel who were invited to attend the July 4th reception held by the US Embassy, which was held at the embassy complex in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem, boycotted the event. It was learned that among the ambassadors who received an invitation and did not come were those of Germany and France, as well as other ambassadors who chose not to come. The reason for this is the fact that their countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is supposed to be a “final status” issue between Israel and the Palestinians, and some claim that the US Embassy goes beyond the Green Line into “East Jerusalem.”

The reception was held with a limited program and the participation of hundreds of guests, and not thousands that typically attended in the days before COVID. The event was attended by Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai. A bi-partisan Congressional delegation was also present headed by US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks.

According to a source with knowledge of the event, half of the European ambassadors in the country were also invited. Among those that did attend was the Ambassador of Romania, a representative of the European Union, the deputy ambassador of the United Kingdom (no longer a member of the European Union), and the ambassadors of Australia, Kosovo, Norway, Honduras, Guatemala and Canada.

Diplomatic sources explained that the reason for the absence of the German and French representatives was the dispute over the location of the US Embassy and the fact that the EU does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It should be noted that the decision of the European ambassadors not to attend the reception is particularly embarrassing in light of the fact that the Biden Administration has opened a new and positive page in relations with the EU after tense years with the Trump Administration. The German Embassy said in a statement that its position on the issue of Jerusalem has not changed. The French Embassy had no comment.

The US Embassy in Israel said in a statement: “We do not comment on the invite lists of diplomats.”

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