US lifts ban on funding of research in Judea, Samaria, Golan

US Ambassador David Friedman signs new research agreement with Israel, paving way for US funding of projects in Judea, Samaria, Golan.

David Rosenberg , | updated: 12:04 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu accompanies David Friedman to the city of Ariel in Samaria
Binyamin Netanyahu accompanies David Friedman to the city of Ariel in Samaria
Reuters

The US officially dropped its opposition Wednesday to funding joint research projects in Israel which are conducted in Judea, Samaria, or the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met at Ariel University in Samaria Wednesday to sign an agreement on scientific cooperation Wednesday, paving the way for US funding of Israeli projects regardless of their location.

The new agreement nullifies limitations imposed in the 1970s on US-Israeli research cooperation which included a territorial clause, barring the US from providing funding for projects which went beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem announced Wednesday that the two sides had signed amended versions of three research agreements, ending the geographic restrictions.

The three agreements include the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), the Binational Science Foundation (BSF), and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD).

In addition, the two sides signed a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (STA), establishing a new government-to-government framework facilitating joint technological research and scientific innovation.

“Just as we have seen tremendous regional progress on the Abraham Accords, we are also seeing the tangible benefits of President Trump’s policies for bilateral cooperation with Israel,” said U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

“Upon entry of force of the Protocol signed here in Judea and Samaria, more Israeli partners will be eligible to receive funding for scientific collaboration in a wide variety of fields. The U.S. – Israel Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement will further strengthen our deep science and technology ties and help promote economic security for both our countries.”

Israeli officials told Axios that Ambassador David Friedman had pushed for the change to the research agreements, intending it as a gesture to Netanyahu after the Prime Minister suspended plans to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

Friedman has denied the claim, however, saying the amendment to the US-Israeli research agreement was drawn up solely for the purpose of enhancing scientific cooperation between the two countries.

Israel’s minister for higher education Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) tweeted that the change constitutes a “big achievement for Israel’s sovereignty”.



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