The Israeli government is expected to approve the allocation of an additional 60 million shekels (about $15.5 million) to settlements in the occupied West Bank due to the “worsening security situation” in the territory, according to Israeli media.
The government on Sunday approved an allocation of NIS 62 million to the settlements in light of the worsening security situation in Judea and Samaria that has caused increased security challenges and hurt businesses.
The 62 million shekels in funds to illegal settlement communities will include NIS 15 million from the Interior Ministry, NIS 10 million from the Agriculture Ministry, NIS 12 million from the Health Ministry, NIS 6 million from the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, and NIS 5.5 million from the Tourism Ministry . The rest of the sum will be provided by various other ministries According to the resolution , the NIS 12 million from the Health Ministry will be spent on creating centers to provide psychological support centers in the settlements.
According to the resolution that will be brought to the cabinet, the 12 million shekels from the Health Ministry will be spent on creating “psychological support centers” for residents in the settlements, which have been deemed illegal under international law.
“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 statement says, using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank. “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.”
According to the explanation in the resolution, the worsening security situation has had a negative influence on life in the settlements in a number of areas, particularly the psychological well-being of the residents and economic damage to business, which the additional funds are set to deal with.
Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz criticized the allocation, saying that he wishes the communities in the country’s periphery would get similar funds.
Saying that he was not advocating being stingy toward the settlements, Perez said that the Defense Ministry already provides sufficiently for their security “You don’t have to use security to indirectly channel funds to the settlements,” he said in an Israel Radio interview. “The concept ‘security’ is being used in vain, because the security establishment will not abandon the settlements.”
Perez said that the money would better have been spent providing equal opportunities for children in the periphery. “I think this pours salt on the wounds of the weak, on the wounds of those who need every shekel,” he said.
In response to the resolution, head of the Knesset’s Joint List Ayman Odeh said in a statement “this is the face of the extremist far-right government of Netanyahu.” Odeh slammed the resolution, saying the millions of shekels only serve to “deepen the occupation and settlements at the expense of the rest of the state’s citizens.”
At least 200 Palestinians and just under 30 Israelis have been killed since October, with increased violent attacks by settlers on Palestinian civilians and agricultural lands.
American and Israeli officials have criticized Palestinian leadership for failing to condemn a number of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals — the majority of which have been carried out on military targets — while critics say Israel has practiced a policy of extra-judicial executions of Palestinians.
Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the wave of attacks, but said that Israeli security measures were failing to “address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians — especially young people.”
He added: “As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”