New agreement allows US funding of Israeli research projects in occupied West Bank, Golan

©Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

The US is effectively lifting a ban on American funding of Israeli scientific research projects conducted in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Tuesday.

According to Israeli media, the restrictions on funding projects in the areas - both occupied by Israel in a 1967 war - will be removed in a signing ceremony on Wednesday.

The ceremony will reportedly take place in the illegal West Bank city-settlement of Ariel - considered illegal by the international community - and will be attended by Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

The reports, which came a week before the US Presidential elections, did not immediately trigger a Palestinian response.

President Donald Trump, who is running for elections, last year backed Israel's "right" to build settlements in the Palestinian territories after shunning Washington's previous long-held view that they were "inconsistent with international law".
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In May, Trump also recognised Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured from Syria.

The loosening of restrictions will comprise the latest approval by the Trump administration of the settlements that are considered to be in violation of international law by the UN.

The revised agreements "will expand scientific cooperation between Israel and the United States to Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights", the Israeli statement said, using the biblical names for the West Bank.

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