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US ambassador to Israel briefly includes West Bank and Gaza in Twitter account

The Twitter account for the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Wednesday changed its description to be read that it represented the “U.S. ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.”

However, the account’s description quickly reverted back to say that it represented the “U.S. ambassador to Israel” only.

People statrted questioning whether the Biden administration will change in U.S. policy in how it deals with Israel, its settlements in the West Bank and territories under Palestinian control.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Israel told NPR’s Daniel Estrin that the name change was “an inadvertent edit, and not reflective of a policy change” and also did not indicate a future policy change.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote on Twitter in his first reaction to the profile change, “It’s incredibly troubling the administration made this controversial move on Day One, w/o consulting w/Congress.”

He added, “It also seems to fly in the face of comments made by Antony Blinken yesterday. I strongly urge the president to clarify this provocative move quickly.”

However, after the U.S. Ambassador Israel’s Twitter profile was restored, he said he was glad to see the situation was addressed and “was not a signal of the direction this administration plans to take towards its Israel policy.”

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, quickly accused the new administration of showing “hostility to Israel.”

“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,” he tweeted.

“Have we been reduced to the West Bank and Gaza? Not even the courtesy of the occupied Palestinian Territories, which is in accordance with int’l law?” Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy executive director Salem Barahmeh.

He added, “Shame on us if we expect any more from this administration. Shame on us for letting our national project get to this point.”

Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, said on Tuesday at his Senate confirmation hearing that President-elect Joe Biden will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, but he will seek a state for the Palestinians

“The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” he said.

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