Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden indicated a major shift in U.S. policy towards Israel.
The title of the official U.S. Ambassador to Israel’s Twitter account was changed to “The official Twitter account of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,” in a complete reversal of policy Trump administration policy.
The U.S. had maintained a strict ‘hands off’ approach towards territorial disputes in the Levant, leaving issues to be settled between Israeli and the Palestinian authorities.
“The United States has for decades declined to take a policy position on the West Bank and Gaza territories, maintaining the Israelis and the Palestinians must decide in negotiations how the areas will be split up for a future Palestinian state. By including Gaza and the West Bank in the ambassador’s portfolio, the Biden administration appears to be determining that neither area is part of Israel—a move that is certain to rile Israeli leaders,” the Washington Free Beacon wrote.
Biden is now criticized for reversing years of progress made in effort towards peace in the Middle East. The Trump administration’s move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a historic shift in policy, and the Abraham Accords have brought the normalization of relations between Israel and several Middle Eastern states.
“The U.S. doesn’t have ambassadors to any other disputed territory in the world. Singling out Israel, once again, is wrong,” said Len Khodorkovsky, former deputy assistant secretary at the State Department. “Instead of building on all the progress that’s been made toward peace in the Middle East, the Biden administration seems to be reversing course toward the failed policies of the Obama years.'”
The change was also seen as the normalization of relations between an American ambassador and a U.S.-designated terror group. In de facto control of the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, Hamas was designated a terror organization by the U.S. in 1997. The European Union, Canada, Israel and Japan have additionally followed suit.
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