Biden Reinstates Ban on American Scientific, Technology Cooperation With Israelis in West Bank

Senator Cruz says President Biden is ‘obsessed with undermining Israel.’

AP/Mahmoud Illean
A view of Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, on the West Bank. AP/Mahmoud Illean

The Biden administration has informed Israeli authorities that it is reversing a Trump-era policy allowing American taxpayer-funded scientific and technological cooperation with companies that operate in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and parts of Jerusalem, according to reports out of Israel Sunday.

Israeli public radio, Kan News, reported Sunday that the State Department informed Israeli officials that it was returning to an Obama-era directive that there would be no more cooperation in areas beyond the 1967 Green line, according to a report in the Times of Israel confirmed by Axios and others. The decision is expected to primarily impact research projects underway at Ariel University in the West Bank.

State Department sources tell Axios that the ban was reimposed shortly after Mr. Biden took office two years ago but its impact only became noticeable when researchers at an institute in the settlements requested a grant from one of three foundations that manage Israeli-American scientific cooperation. Those foundations have handed out some $1.5 billion in grants since the 1970s.

Engaging with researchers in Judea and Samaria and other parts of the West Bank is “inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy,” an anonymous State Department official told Axios. “This guidance is simply reflective of the longstanding U.S. position … that the ultimate disposition of the geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after June 5, 1967 is a final status matter and that we are working towards a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the source said.

The administration’s ruling reverses one handed down by President Trump just weeks before the presidential election in 2020. Mr. Trump’s edict, for the first time since 1967, allowed American funds to be used for projects in the settlements in the West Bank.

In a briefing with reporters on Sunday in Tel Aviv, the Israeli foreign minister, Eli Cohen, protested the move. “I object to the decision and think it is wrong. In similar cases in the past, the Israeli government fully reimbursed parties damaged by such decisions,” Mr. Cohen said, according to the Times.

The decision also drew fire from some of Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill. Senator Cruz, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement released Sunday that the Biden administration is “pathologically obsessed with undermining Israel.

“The Biden administration defends funding scientific research in Wuhan with the Chinese Communist Party, but they’re discriminating against and banning cooperation with Jews based on where they live,” he added. “I will do everything possible to reverse this decision and prohibit such antisemitic discrimination by the U.S. government in the future.”

The New York Sun

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