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New iPhone update suggests Palestinian flag emoji when you type in ‘Jerusalem’: What Apple said on ‘bug’

Apple said that it would stop a Palestinian flag emoji from being suggested to some iPhone users when they type “Jerusalem” in their messages. Blaming software bug for the prompt, Apple told new agency AFP that the predictive emoji suggestion in the iPhone keyboard was not intentional and would be fixed in the next update. The emoji sparked accusations that Apple was showing anti-Israel bias amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza in which 33,207 Palestinians have been killed in six months while most of the enclave’s 2.3 million people are homeless and at risk of famine.

An Apple logo is pictured in an Apple store in Paris, France. Apple stoked a new controversy over Palestinian flag emoji after iPhone’s new update. (Reuters)

The conflict was triggered on October 7 when Hamas killed 1,200 people in southern Israel in the cross-border attack. The Israeli army has said that over 600 of its soldiers have been killed in combat since.

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The Palestinian emoji suggestion was pointed out on social media by British television presenter Rachel Riley who wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “When I type the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, I’m offered the Palestinian flag emoji.”

She pointed out that no flag emojis were suggested when other capital cities were typed into iPhone messages saying, “Showing double standards with respect to Israel is a form of antisemitism, which is itself a form of racism against Jewish people.”

Bu the Palestinian flag emoji began showing up in connection with Jerusalem after a recent update of the iPhone operating system, she said signing her post as “a Jewish woman concerned about the global rise in antisemitism.”

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