We were dismayed by Sunday’s announcement from the Biden Administration that the United States will no longer engage in scientific and technological cooperation with Israeli entities located in the West Bank (Yehuda and Shomron), East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, all of which are beyond the so-called “Green Line.” The Green Line refers to the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, originally demarcated on a map with a green marker. In the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel captured the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip.

A U.S. State Department official said that until President Donald Trump reversed it, this had been U.S. policy since the 1970s. According to the Times of Israel, the official said that while the U.S. is greatly appreciative of scientific cooperation with Israel and that this would continue, areas over the green line “remain subject to negotiations on their permanent status.”


Unidentified sources suggested that the U.S. decision was an attempt at retaliation after the Israeli government announced last week that it authorized the construction of over 1,000 new homes in Yehuda and Shomron. The thinking is that President Joe Biden wanted to send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu not to take actions that tend to undermine such a result.

(The increased construction was itself sparked by a Palestinian terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of four Israeli West Bank residents – new construction is apparently one of the ways Israel has determined to react to the murder of its citizens.) The new American policy seems rather curious, given that the U.S. funds Palestinian institutions in the West Bank even in the absence of a “negotiated permanent status” for the Palestinians as well. Moreover, it has long been recognized that it is the Palestinians who have been the recalcitrant party and impediment to negotiations, if only because they have not decided who speaks for them collectively.

In a way, this latest policy twist by the Biden administration should not be all that surprising. After all, in the recently released U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, there is no condemnation of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Indeed, it embraces a definition of antisemitism that posits that “boycotting of goods made in the West Bank and/or Israel is not antisemitic,” a position at odds with the thinking of most member of the Jewish community.

Let’s advocate this sort of thing both stops here and gets reversed. Biden should be reminded that this is not the way a true friend of Israel and the Jews behaves.


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