US reinstates funding ban for scientific, tech research in Israeli settlements

The Biden administration has reinstated a rule banning US taxpayer funding for scientific and technological research in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the State Department announced Monday.

The decision to reverse the Trump administration’s policy from late 2020 that allowed funding to flow to the contested areas comes amid rising tensions in Israel and Palestine, and a dramatic increase in Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. The US maintains the settlements hinder the prospects for a long-sought two-state solution.

Spokesperson Matthew Miller said the State Department “recently circulated foreign policy guidance” to US government agencies “advising that engaging in bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israel in geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after 1967, and which remain subject to final status negotiations, is inconsistent with US foreign policy.”

“The guidance is reflective of the longstanding US position, going back decades, reaffirmed by this administration, that the ultimate disposition of the geographic areas, which came of the administration of Israel after 1967 is a final status matter,” he told reporters.

“We’re reverting to US policy to long-standing pre-2020 geographic limitations on US support for activities in those areas, a policy that goes back decades,” he added.

In all, three Israeli institutions in the West Bank, including Ariel University, will be affected. Miller did not have a dollar amount on the amount of government funding that will be curtailed.

Miller maintained the US “strongly values scientific and technical technological cooperation with Israel, and robust scientific and technological cooperation with Israel continues.”

Israel seized the West Bank in 1967. Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

Source: Anadolu Agency