In a move that was seen as undermining Israeli sovereignty over the eastern part of the capital city of Jerusalem, Joe Biden's handlers removed the Israeli flag from his limo and refused to allow Israeli officials to accompany Biden in a visit to a Palestinian hospital on Friday.
Team Biden's rejection of Israeli accompaniment during the visit was seen by many in Israel as signaling that the Biden administration does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem.
"Today’s pictures of his 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," World Likud Chairman Danny Danon said.
"This move only spreads false hopes and sows discord instead of peace. Just as no leader would request that Washington or any world capital be divided, so too Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people, will forever remain united," Danon added.
President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018, without delineating municipal borders. Biden claimed he would maintain that recognition.
The Biden administration has also sought to reopen the U.S. consulate to the Palestinians, which was located in western Jerusalem and was turned into a unit of the U.S. Embassy to Israel after the Trump administration recognized the capital. Israel has refused to authorize the Biden move.
"Biden's visit to east Jerusalem without official Israeli accompaniment is a destructive move towards Israel, even if it was done with smiles and handshakes," said Religious Zionist Party Knesset member Orit Struck.
"Biden knows very well that that would never be allowed in Washington by a foreign leader and understands how much that hurts Israel's national pride, doing it in Jerusalem."
During the visit to the hospital, Biden announced $100 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinian medical network.
While official US policy recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, @POTUS visited east Jerusalem & removed Israel’s flag from his official limo—a signal of division undermining Israel’s sovereignty over J’lem. This is not how we should treat Israel. Ever. https://t.co/PyaGR16Mtz— Senator Bill Hagerty (@SenatorHagerty) July 15, 2022