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Israel approves $11.5m in extra funding for West Bank settlements

A protester throws a rock in response to Israeli security forces' intervention in Palestinians protesting against US decision on Jewish settlements in Nablus, West Bank on 26 November 2019. [Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency]
A protester throws a rock in response to Israeli security forces' intervention in Palestinians protesting against US decision on Jewish settlements in Nablus, West Bank on 26 November 2019. [Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency]

Israel approved an extra 40 million shekels ($11.5 million) for settlements in the occupied West Bank yesterday, reported Haaretz.

The majority of the funding allocation approved by the cabinet – 34.5 million shekels ($9.9 million) – is reportedly a one-time grant for “security needs” of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The remaining 5.5 million shekels ($1.6 million) is “for the construction of first aid stations”, reported Haaretz.

News of the funding was initially made public by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Thursday, after the embattled premier had met with senior settler leaders, who ended the meeting by expressing support for Netanyahu “and appreciation for his leadership of the country at present”.

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“Mr. Prime Minister, the heads of the local authorities in Judea, Samaria [the West Bank] and the Jordan Valley express their support for you and strengthen you,” stated the chair of the Yesha council – a forum for the settler leadership – David Alhayani.

“We want to see a continuation of your blessed work for the State of Israel. We are at your side.”

The Yesha council added that the meeting discussed “the possibilities of establishing a government that would support and strengthen Israeli settlement” as well as annexing “the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea region”.

Following the cabinet meeting yesterday, Joint List chair MK Ayman Odeh wrote to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit saying that the circumstances of the funding decision “raise a grave suspicion of a budget allocation in exchange for a political favour”.

“Netanyahu has done the two things that he loves, at the same time, misappropriating public funds for his personal benefit and expanding the settlement enterprise in order to deepen the occupation,” Odeh said.

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