U.S., Israel expand scientific pacts into West Bank settlements

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Oct. 28 (UPI) — The Trump administration and the Israeli government agreed Wednesday to expand research agreements into West Bank settlements and remove territorial limitations.

U.S Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the agreement during a ceremony at Ariel University in the West Bank Settlement of Samaria. They said it eliminates a line that controlled cooperative projects.

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The United States and Israel had previously agreed to three research pacts in the 1970s, including the Development Fund. The foundations provided endowments to U.S. and Israeli companies and universities, but previously excluded areas like the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

“It opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the United States,” Netanyahu said. “This is an important victory against all those who seek to delegitimize everything Israeli beyond the 1967 lines.”

Friedman said updating the agreements will lead to new scientific and technological growth.

“I was disappointed that these agreements devoted to academic and scientific growth were subject to political limitations that did not serve the goals sought to be achieved,” he said. “These geographic restrictions no longer comport with our foreign policy.”