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World

U.S Embassy briefly includes West Bank,Gaza in Twitter handle, sparking outrage

  • As President Joe Biden was sworn into office, the U.S Embassy in Israel briefly changed its Twitter account title to include the West Bank and Gaza.
  • By the time the account was amended, it had already gained a great deal of speculation in the Israeli press.
Updated 21 Jan 2021

As President Joe Biden was sworn into office, the U.S Embassy in Israel briefly changed its Twitter account title to include the West Bank and Gaza, sparking an immediate reaction online.

The @USAmbIsrael account's name changed to "U.S Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza", which led to a great deal of speculation around a major policy shift under the Biden Administration.

A short time later it was reverted to “U.S Ambassador to Israel” and a spokesman for the embassy mentioned that the changes “did not reflect a policy change or indication of future policy change".

However, by the time the account was amended, it had already gained a great deal of speculation in the Israeli press.

During the Trump Administration's tenure, the American mission was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while the consulate in East Jerusalem which served West Bank and Gaza was shuttered and incorporated into the embassy in Jerusalem.

Critics of President Biden, including Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, quickly accused the incoming administration of showing "hostility to Israel", adding that "There is no country of West Bank or Gaza, only territories that Israel has been willing for decades to negotiate sovereignty over but has been met with only hostility and terrorism".

Biden has declared his intention to restart relations with the Palestinian Authority, but the name change appears to have been a mistake by an embassy staffer, rather than action representative of a day-one shift in policy.