Photo Credit: GPO
PM Netanyahu at Ariel University at the signing of the agreement lifting geographic restrictions on US-Israel cooperation. This wasa during the Trump administration

The Biden administration issued guidance to cut scientific and technological cooperation with areas beyond the 1949 armistice line, referring to territory recovered by Israel in the 1967 war, Kan News reported on Sunday.

The stance signals U.S. disapproval of Israel’s intention to build thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria and marks a return to Obama-era policy.

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A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Kan, “This guidance is simply reflective of the longstanding U.S. position that the ultimate disposition of the geographic areas is a final-status matter and that we are working towards a negotiated two-state solution.”

The decision reversed an initiative by the Trump administration to eliminate a U.S. policy prejudiced against Israeli control of Judea and Samaria.

In October 2020, the Trump administration signed bilateral agreements to further enhance the cooperation with Israel in the areas of science, industrial research and agriculture by removing “geographic restrictions” from previous accords.

Until then, joint U.S.-Israel development projects, including the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), the Binational Science Foundation (BSF) and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD), couldn’t be conducted in areas that “came under the administration of the government of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate to subjects pertinent to such areas.”

In eliminating the geographic restrictions, then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “We are righting an old wrong. And strengthening yet again the unbreakable bond between our two countries.

“We are depoliticizing a process that should never have been political in the first place,” Friedman said at the time.

{reposted from JNS}

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