Biden administration reverses Trump policy that allowed funding to research in Israeli settlements

The policy returns the US to a harder line against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The Biden administration notified Israel two weeks ago that it was reimposing a ban that prohibits US taxpayer funding from being used in any research and development or scientific cooperation projects conducted in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to US and Israeli officials.

The Biden administration’s decision reverses a Trump administration policy from late 2020 that allowed US taxpayer funding to be used for science and technology projects in the settlements for the first time since 1967.

The Department of State recently circulated foreign policy guidance to relevant agencies advising that engaging in bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israel in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights “is inconsistent with US foreign policy,” a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

The spokesperson said that the US “strongly values scientific and technological cooperation” with Israel and such cooperation continues.

The policy was the standard US position before it was briefly reversed under former US president Donald Trump, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-US ambassador David Friedman signed an agreement that removed all previous geographic restrictions from the two countries’ scientific cooperation.

In a briefing with reporters on Sunday, 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,” Cohen said.

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US set to cease scientific, tech cooperation with Israeli entities over Green Line (Time of Israel)

Biden admin reverses Trump policy that allowed funding to research in Israeli settlements (Axios)

Photo: US President Joe Biden  with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem  in July 2022 (REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool)