US Reverses Policy, Will Participate in Israeli West Bank Projects
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Wednesday held a special ceremony at Ariel University, where the two signed an agreement to extend the countries’ 1970s-era scientific cooperation pacts to the West Bank and Golan Heights. Both territories were conquered by Israel during the 1967 war. The move marks a significant shift from Washington’s long-held policy of refusing to invest taxpayers’ money in joint research and development projects conducted on disputed land. Last year, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the northern Golan Heights, and later declared that the US would no longer consider West Bank settlements as violating international law. Wednesday’s amendment to the scientific cooperation agreements is seen by many as an attempted consolation prize from the Trump Administration to Netanyahu after the latter was forced to forgo his plans of annexing parts of the West Bank in return for normalization with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.