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Israeli ambassador’s Twitter page briefly changed to distinguish West Bank, Gaza


The official Twitter account of the US ambassador to Israel was briefly changed to the “US Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza” after the Biden administration took office on Wednesday — a modification that would signal a huge shift in US policy from the Trump administration. 

It was changed a short while later to only read: “US Ambassador to Israel.”

The Trump administration recognized Israel’s sovereignty over those areas.

The change came as the newly minted administration took over the Twitter accounts of the White House and other federal government agencies after Joe Biden was sworn in as president at the Capitol.


The account was altered shortly after David Friedman, the former ambassador, signed off, offering thanks to President Trump “for the honor of a lifetime.”

An embassy spokeswoman told Haaretz that the change was “not a policy change or indication of a future policy change.”

“It was an inadvertent edit, and not reflective of a policy change,” the spokeswoman said. 

Secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken, during his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, reaffirmed Biden’s commitment to keeping Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. 

“Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas asked Blinken during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

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President Biden’s Secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken at his confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
President Biden’s Secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken at his Senate confirmation hearing at the US Capitol on Jan. 19, 2021.
Pacific Coast News / Alex Edelman – Pool via CNP

“Yes and yes,” ​Blinken responded. ​

He also said the administration wanted to build on the progress Trump made in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords.

The Trump White House brokered a​ landmark deal with the signing of the Abraham Accords in September in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said after signing the agreement on the South Lawn with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain.

“After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,”​ he said.

Sudan and Morocco then announced they would also establish diplomatic ties with Israel. 

​Trump, who took office promising to broker an elusive peace in the Middle East, announced in September 2017 that he will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move the embassy there from Tel Aviv — an abrupt change in two decades of US policy.

​Jerusalem has been a sticking point in trying to negotiate peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. 

​The Palestinians and other Arab leaders want the eastern part of Jerusalem to serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.​

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They argue Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in a move that was never recognized internationally.

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