Factsheet on U.S. Ties With Israel on State.gov Still Blank - 50 Days Into Trump's Term

Along with Egypt and Libya, the 'bilateral relations factsheet' for Israel on State Department website has been erased weeks ago and hasn't been updated since.

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Blank page for Israel factsheet on state.gov
Blank page for Israel factsheet on state.gov
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

Fifty days into the Trump administration, the U.S. State Department website still hasn't updated its page devoted to U.S. relations with Israel, which was taken down during the transition period between the Obama and Trump administrations - and has remained blank ever since.

The State Department's website features a "bilateral relations factsheet" devoted to every country that the U.S. has a bilateral relationship with. Out of all the countries in the world, there are only three that, ever since Trump came to power, have remained without a factsheet on the website: Israel, Egypt and Libya. For all three, the website includes only a sentence stating that "the bilateral relations factsheet is currently being updated." The page about Israel was apparently taken down between December 16 and December 17.

A question from Haaretz on where the process of updating the factsheet was standing, when would it be completed, and why Israel, Egypt and Libya were going through a particularly lengthy process, received the following reply from a state department official:

"Similar to the Clinton and Bush Administrations’ State Department websites, the Obama Administration’s state.gov website is preserved as an archive website. New items created by the Trump Administration will be posted to state.gov."

Another source in the Department said that "no one has a clue" why the website hasn't been updated. It should be noted that factsheets for other countries throughout the world have been updated with new content in the 50 days that have passed since Trump entered the White House- among them Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Argentina.

In related news, the State Department announced this week that Michael Ratney, a career diplomat who was the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem from 2012 to 2015, is currently in charge of handling the Israeli-Palestinian file on behalf of the department. Spokesperson Mark Toner said during a press briefing that Ratney is in touch with Palestinian officials, and that he will handle this file while continuing to serve as the department's specialist on the conflict in Syria.

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