Mountain View Voice

News - March 7, 2014

Gov. Brown, Netanyahu sign partnership pact

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Mountain View Wednesday morning meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown at the Computer History Museum, where the leaders signed a pact to expand economic, cultural and academic cooperation between Israel and California.

The pact, referred to by Israeli consular officials in San Francisco as a "strategic partnership," focuses on water conservation, cyber defense, alternative energy, biotech, health and education among other areas, according to the governor's office.

Prior to the arrival of Brown and Netanyahu on March 5, security personnel circled the museum with dogs that sniffed around the building's perimeter.

About 10 demonstrators gathered outside the museum on Shoreline Boulevard in anticipation of Netanyahu's visit. Most were there in support of Palestinians, including John Lehman, a 60-year-old San Jose resident.

"The reason I'm against the cooperation, the partnership, is that it would directly or indirectly support the occupation," Lehman said.

"They have a right to be left alone," he said of Palestinians.

Standing on the center median of North Shoreline Boulevard near large letters strung up between trees reading "Free Palestine," 68-year-old Paul Laudree, of El Cerrito, said he opposes settlements in the West Bank.

"Why are we sending them billions of dollars?" he said of U.S. aid to Israel. "It's also destroying our relations with the entire Arab world. Is this really to our benefit?"

Nearby holding three Israeli flags was 53-year-old Faith Meltzer, the lone supporter of the pact among the demonstrators.

"I'm here to support a close relationship between the United States and Israel," she said. "The only path to peace is for a Jewish state alongside an Arab state, with close diplomatic ties."

Meltzer said the agreement being signed today will be good for everyone involved.

"What is happening today is Israel is doing amazing things with water conservation. It's a great opportunity for both Israel and California to enhance their relationship," she said.

Netanyahu's stop in Mountain View follows a trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Barack Obama, and a visit to Los Angeles, where the prime minister attended a screening of a TV documentary in which he appears.

—Bay City News Service

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