Under Israeli pressure, US envoy backpedals on balanced tweet on West Bank deaths

Under Israeli pressure, US envoy backpedals on balanced tweet on West Bank deaths
After attempting to strike balance in his reaction to recent violence in the West Bank, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides was forced to issue a 'clarification' following Israeli pressure.
3 min read
21 June, 2023
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides originally attempted to strike a balance in his reaction to violence in the West Bank [Getty]

The US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, on Wednesday was forced to 'clarify' an initial tweet condemning Tuesday’s fatal West Bank attack, after facing sharp criticism from his Israeli counterpart Michael Herzog.

Nides wrote following the attack Eli, in which four Israeli settlers were shot dead, that he was “deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors.”

The tweet was an attempt by Nides to strike a balance, with the ambassador simply acknowledging the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians this week across the West Bank.  In Jenin on Monday, seven Palestinians, including a 15-year-old girl, were killed after a raid by the Israeli security forces.

However, Nides’ sentiments did not go down well with Herzog, who took the American to task without mentioning him by name, tweeting “yet another heinous Palestinian terror attack claimed the lives of 4 innocent Israeli civilians”. Herzog went on to say there is “no justification for whatsoever for the targeting and killing of innocent civilians,” adding that "it must be unequivocally condemned.”


In a clear shot at Nides, Herzog said “any attempt of a so called 'balanced' condemnation is misguided and disrespectful to the memory of the victims.” He then went on to claim that the deaths of Palestinians in Jenin were the fault of the Palestinian Authority and that the city was “an Iranian terror stronghold”.

After Herzog’s criticism and facing a social media backlash from supporters of Israel, Nides buckled and was compelled to backpedal on his earlier, more balanced tweet, writing “I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today — my heart is with their grieving family members.”

Interestingly, the US State Department’s statement on the violence echoed the sentiments of Nides’ first tweet, with spokesman Matthew Miller saying the US was “concerned about the continuation of violence in Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks that has killed and injured Palestinian and Israeli civilians.”

Since the start of the year, 174 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied territories.