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PM fetes ‘important victory’ as US extends bilateral agreements to settlements

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Israel and the US on Wednesday signed an agreement that removed all previous geographic restrictions from their scientific cooperation, a move viewed by some as a first step toward American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank.

In the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Science Minister Izhar Shay (Blue and White) and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed a protocol that amended three 1970s agreements that form the basis for bilateral scientific cooperation.

Those agreements had stipulated that cooperative projects “may not be conducted in geographical areas which came under the administration of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.”

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Wednesday’s amendments, signed during a festive ceremony at Ariel University, in the heart of the West Bank, removed this clause.

“It opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the United States,” Netanyahu said, using the West Bank’s biblical names.

“This is an important victory against all those who seek to delegitimize everything Israeli beyond the 1967 lines. And to those malevolent boycotters, I have a simple message for you today: You are wrong, and you will fail. You are wrong because you deny what cannot be denied — the millennial connection between the people of Israel and the land of Israel; it’s over 3,000 years old,” he said.

“And you will fail because we are resolved to continue to build our life in our ancestral homeland and to be never uprooted from here again.”

Switching from English to Hebrew,........

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