In Controversial Move Israel Approves More Funding for West Bank Settlements

The Israeli media reported yesterday that the Israeli cabinet approved $18.6 million in funding to settlements in the occupied West Bank due to the “worsening security situation”.

The approved funds are in addition to the $87.9 million already allocated to settlements.

The funds to illegal colonies will include 15 million shekels from the Interior Ministry, 10 million shekels from the Agriculture Ministry, 12 million shekels from the Health Ministry, and 6 million shekels from the Welfare and Social Services Ministry. Other ministries will provide the remaining money.

“Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria face a unique security situation on a daily basis because of their geographic location and the fabric of life in the area,” the cabinet resolution statement said, using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank.  It added, “From the beginning of October 2015, there was an escalation in the security situation in Judea and Samaria as a result of the wave of terror”.

The Israeli cabinet justified the additional funding by stating that it will help improve “the psychological well-being” of illegal Jewish settlers due to “the worsening security situation”. The funds aim to help settlers recover “from the economic losses” they endured due to the security situation.

Ayman Odeh, the head of the Knesset’s Joint List, said in a statement, “this is the face of the extremist far right government of Netanyahu.” Odeh condemned the allocation of money for this purpose, which will only serve to “deepen the occupation and settlements at the expense of the rest of the state’s citizens”.

PLO Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, said, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a clear message to the international community that the Israeli government is interested only in expansionism, control, and pandering to the extremist and racist settler population”.

Ashrawi called upon the international community to “put an end to Israel’s continued annexation of Palestinian land and its destruction of the two-state solution”.

The New York Times has reported that “the move came as the Israeli hard-liner, Avigdor Lieberman, was to arrive in Washington on his first visit in his new role as Defense Minister, during which he is expected to meet with Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter”.

Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law, which Israel continues to defy by building more settlements at the expense of Palestinians and their lands.

(MAAN, PC)

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