Netanyahu, Ambassador Friedman Extend Science Accords Into Yehudah and Shomron

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the signing ceremony at Ariel University, Wednesday. (U.S. Embassy)

The United States and Israel amended a series of scientific cooperation agreements on Wednesday to include Israeli institutions in Yehudah and Shomron, a step that will pave the way for U.S. funding of Israeli projects regardless of their location.

Until now, three U.S.-Israeli science cooperation agreements excluded projects in Yehudah, Shomron, east Yerushalayim and the Golan Heights.

Israeli and American officials signed protocols amending the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, the Binational Science Foundation, and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation at a ceremony in Ariel.

Breaking with decades of American policy, the Trump administration recognized Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there. It also recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. The administration also reversed the U.S. government’s longstanding position that settlements are a violation of international law.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Israel said that “these geographic restrictions are no longer consistent with U.S. policy,” and that updating the agreements to remove them “further strengthens the special bilateral relationship” between the two countries.

“This geographic restriction within the three agreements was an anachronism, it had no place within our evolving region,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said at a ceremony at Ariel University.