Israel and the U.S. on Wednesday signed an agreement Wednesday extending scientific cooperation to apply to Israeli institutions in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, in a move seen by some as a precursor to U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank.
In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said the deal will “remove geographic restrictions” on scientific cooperation agreements from the 1970s which been restricted to universities in the West Bank.
The agreements contained a clause that said cooperation “may not be conducted in geographical areas which came under the administration of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.”
“These geographic restrictions are no longer consistent with U.S. policy,” the embassy statement said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the U.S. had reversed the policy of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, who declared Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) illegal. https://t.co/GPyWwU3PMq
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed the amendment at a ceremony at Ariel University in the eponymous settlement in the northern West Bank.
“It opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the United States,” Netanyahu said, using the West Bank’s biblical names.