Israel approves multi-million dollar cash boost for illegal settlers

Israel approves multi-million dollar cash boost for illegal settlers
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government approved a new cash reward to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as the right-wing politician faces an examination by the justice ministry.
3 min read
10 July, 2016
Israeli settlements are viewed as a major obstacle to peace [Getty]

Israeli settlements in the West Bank will receive 50 million shekels ($12.8 million) over the next three years, in a bid to "strengthen" the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet approved the cash reward to settlements in the occuped West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

The money will be given to settlements over three years, which Israel says is allocated for social services, education and security.

"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 settlements have been flashpoints of violence, with settlers said to be orchestrating a "reign of terror" over neighbouring Palestinian villages, while stabbings of Israelis have also taken place.

The Palestinian city of Hebron has been one hotspot of violence in recent months, where the Kiryat Arba tightly guarded settlement is based.

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

Israeli settlements are viewed as a major stumbling block to peace as they are built on Palestinian land, which should be part of their future state.

Opponents of the settlements have accused Israel of colonising the West Bank, and using the settlers to annex more Palestinian land.

[click to enlarge]

The United States, the European Union and many other countries have called for a halt to settlement building.

Netanyahu's government is considered to be the most right-wing in Israel's history, particularly after the inclusion of far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman - who is himself a settler - in government.

Members of the cabinet are strong supporters of settlement building and oppose any talk of establishing a Palestinian state.

A similar decision, allocating 70 million shekels ($18 million, 16 million euros) to a variety of settlements, was announced last month. 

Netanyahu under examination

Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday he had ordered an "examination" into an unspecified affair involving Netanyahu, after weeks of media speculation and rumours.

"After receiving information on matters pertaining, among others, to the prime minister," Mandelblit met police and justice officials, after which he decided "to order an examination into the matter", a justice ministry statement read.

"We stress that this is an examination and not a criminal investigation into the prime minister," it read.

The ministry provided no further details, but media said the suspicions involved a money transfer.

A spokesman for Netanyahu said that "as in all of the previous cases" of suspicions against the premier, "this will contain nothing too - because there's nothing there".

Netanyahu last month acknowledged receiving money from French tycoon Arnaud Mimran, who was on Thursday sentenced to eight years in prison over a scam amounting to 283 million euros involving the trade of carbon emissions permits and the taxes on them.

The allegations against Netanyahu are the latest focused on his spending.

In May, the Israeli state comptroller issued a critical report about Netanyahu's foreign trips, some with his wife and children, between 2003 and 2005 when he was finance minister.