Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Agreement at Ariel University in Samaria on Wednesday, October 28. The agreement immediately expands scientific and academic cooperation between the two countries to include projects in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights—disputed territories under Israeli control.
The move builds upon a policy shift announced by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on November 18, 2019, stating that America no longer recognizes Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria as illegal under international law.
Israel captured Judea and Samaria, in addition to the Golan, from Jordan and Syria, respectively, during the defensive Six-Day War in 1967. Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, and the United States recognized its full sovereignty there on March 25, 2019. Judea and Samaria remain disputed territories, and were divided into non-contiguous zones (“Area A,” “Area B” and “Area C”) of varying Israeli or Palestinian administrative and security control under the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Prior to the signing of the Abraham Accords on Sept. 15, Israel planned to extend its sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria under the aegis of the U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” plan.