Aug 16, 2022
JERUSALEM WEATHER
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Along with many other snubs disrespecting his Israeli hosts, President Biden removed the Israeli flag from his limousine before travelling to his meeting with Palestinian representatives in the eastern section of Jerusalem.

On Friday, Biden visited Augusta Victoria hospital in the eastern section of Jerusalem. The hospital is run by the Palestinian Authority, and the visit is seen as tacit support of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. This will mark the first time a sitting US president has visited a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. While the State Department assured the Israeli government that the visit was not intended as a snub or to indicate Palestinian sovereignty in the Israeli capital, one glaring detail betrayed the truth. “The Beast”, the presidential limousine, displayed the US and Israeli flags when visiting Israeli officials but the trip to the eastern section of Israel capital was carrried out without an Israeli flag.

“It begins with a visit by an American president to a Palestinian institution in East Jerusalem, Danny Danon, who served as Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tweeted. “This continues with Lapid’s inability to draw a red line, act as a statesman and prevent this dangerous precedent. And it ended with the lowering of the Israeli flag from the motorcade of Biden in the capital of the State of Israel.” 

“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,” commented Religious Zionist Party MK 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.”

“On this, I say to the President; President Biden, 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 concluded.

“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,” commented Religious Zionist Party MK 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.”

Axios reported on Monday that Israeli Ministry of Health officials spoke to U.S. officials on Sunday and asked if Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz or a lower-level Israeli health official could join Biden’s visit to the hospital.

“The Israeli officials told Axios that Biden administration officials rejected the request, saying it is a ‘private visit, not a political one,” Axios reported. “The Israeli government didn’t like the U.S. response. A senior Israeli official told Axios that this is a matter of Israeli sovereignty.”

The visit itself was problematic as it was a clear message of support for establishing a Palestinian capital in the Jews’ eternal capital. While there, the president granted the PA$100 million in funding to the PA hospital network.

The funding is of questionably legality as the Taylor Force Act, named after an American veteran slain by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016 and signed into law by President Trump in 2018, prohibits funding to the Palestinian Authority if it does not stop paying salaries to terrorists and their families. It is estimated that the PA spent at least $151 million in 2019 on its “Pay to Slay” program and at least $155 million in 2020.

The  State Department has admitted that funds allocated for humanitarian aid could be used for terrorism against Israel. Additionally, the General Accounting Office, a US government watchdog agency,  issued a report in March showing that USAID did not fully comply with vetting procedures for primary recipients in the years 2015-2019 and that some of the funding may have reached terrorist organizations.

In an article about the president’s possible visit to the Palestinian hospital, the J-Post cited a PA official in Ramallah as saying that the presidential visit would be seen as a fulfillment of the US administration’s commitment to the two-state solution.

The official added that a Biden visit to east Jerusalem would also be seen as a revocation of former US President Donald Trump’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The “Beast” debacle was only one of many snubs by the president. Before his arrival, the president’s staff informed Israel that the reception at the airport would be abnormally subdued. There was speculation of health concerns due to the heat. In addition, the president stated he would not be shaking hands due to concerns about COVID. But when he arrived, Biden shook hands with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while limiting himslelf to fist bumps with the current PM Lapid.

COVID concerns notwithstanding, Biden did shake the hand of PA President Mahmoud Abbas when they met in Bethlehem.

Biden and Abbas in Bethlehem (Screenshot)F

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