Israel approves Dh47.7m in financing to West Bank settlements
Jerusalem // Israel’s government on Sunday approved nearly US$13 million (Dh47.7m) in financing for the West Bank settlements of Kiryat Arba and within Hebron.
The decision by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet will allocate the money to “strengthen” the settlements, after what they claimed to be a rise in violence in the area.
“Government offices, I must note, have all been recruited to assist the residents who stand heroically in the face of vicious terrorism,” Mr Netanyahu said ahead of the approval.
The money will be allocated over three years and be designated to a variety of issues, including social, education and security services, and come from the budgets of the relevant ministries.
Kiryat Arba is a large settlement near Hebron, the largest Palestinian West Bank city, which is also host to several hundred Jewish settlers in a tightly guarded enclave. The settlements, which are built on occupied Palestinian land, are illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to any future peace agreement.
Last week Netanyahu authorised hundreds of new homes for Israelis in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. US State Department spokesman John Kirby criticised the authorisation of new homes as “fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”
The United States, the European Union and many others in the international community have called for a halt to settlement building.
The Israeli moves to bolster its settlements are a response to months of violence that has killed more than 200 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.
Israel claims the Hebron area settlers have been affected by the violenceand that around 80 of the attacks on Israelis have been carried out by Palestinians from the Hebron area.
Palestinians have long complained of being victims of aggression from the settlers and Israel’s occupying forces. They accuse the army of carrying out summary executions of Palestinians they suspect of planning knife attacks against Israelis.
Mr Netanyahu’s government is considered to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history, and key members of his cabinet are strong supporters of settlement building and opponents of a Palestinian state.
A similar decision, allocating $18m to a variety of settlements, was announced last month.
Published: July 11, 2016 04:00 AM