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Israel okays millions to West Bank settlements

By AFP - Jul 11,2016 - Last updated at Jul 11,2016

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel’s government on Sunday approved nearly $13 million in financing for the West Bank settlements of Kiryat Arba and within Hebron, officials said, following a wave of unrest in the area.

The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Cabinet will see some 50 million shekels ($12.8 million, 11.6 million euros) allocated to “strengthen” the communities.

“Government offices, I must note, have all been recruited to assist the residents who stand heroically in the face of vicious terrorism,” 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. 

At least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land Palestinians view as part of their future state.

The United States, the European Union and many others in the international community have called for a halt to settlement building.

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 70 million shekels ($18 million, 16 million euros) to a variety of settlements, was announced last month. Two officials said Sunday’s decision was about new monies.

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