12/18/2019, 09.58
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Netanyahu spends more money on settlements than internal development of Israel

In the first quarter of the year, approximately 390 million shekels were allocated for the West Bank alone. It is the highest figure of the last decade. In 2018 the total sum was 1.8 billion. Growth in recent years has reached 50%. Peace Now: the government finances the colonies "to the detriment of the growth" of the entire country.



Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Spending by the Israeli government on settlements continues to grow, reaching its highest level on a quarterly basis over the last decade. An ever increasing flow of money, despite a reduction in the territory because today the Golan Heights are considered an integral part of the State following the recognition of sovereignty by the US president Donald Trump. A river of money denounce Israeli activists opposed to the occupation, which the executive of the interim premier Benjamin Netanyahu removes from the possible development of the communities within the country.

The official budget, prepared by Israel for the US government, shows that in the first quarter of the year, 390 million shekels (equal to $ 111.5 million) were allocated for settlements in the West Bank. The highest figure in a decade, although in the past few years the budget for the Israeli Golan communities was also foreseen.

According to local NGO Peace Now, "the figures provided by the state show that Israel continues to invest a huge amount of capital in the development of settlements" even "to the detriment of internal development" in the country. "The decision taken this week - adds the note - to allocate an additional 34.5 million shekels in exclusive subsidies" to the local authorities of the settlements shows that the government has lost sight of the main task, which is to operate "for the good of the whole population ”.

In 2018 the cost of settlements reached 1.8 billion shekels, a figure much higher than the quota allocated between 2011 and 2016, which ranged from 900 million to a maximum of 1.2 billion. According to data from the Ministry of Finance, drawn up by the Central Statistical Institute, it emerges that: the Israeli government invests over one billion in surplus funds for the development of settlements (excluding the costs for security and maintenance of the same); in recent years there has been a 50% growth in investments for settlements; they receive about 12% of the subsidies allocated by the Ministry of the Interior to local authorities, against a share of the population that is only 5% of the total.

The settlements are communities inhabited by Israeli civilians and military and built in the territories conquered by Israel after the Six-Day War of June 1967, in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip. In 1979, Israel withdrew from settlements in Sinai after signing the peace agreement with Egypt, and in 2005 the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the dismantling of 17 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Currently the colonies - illegal under international law - are located in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Recently, US President Donald Trump said that they are no longer considered "illegal" under international law, a decision criticized by much of the world community, primarily the United Nations and the European Union, according to which the legal status remains unchanged.

The funds allocated by the Israeli government for the settlements cover the most varied sectors, ranging from the construction of buildings to public investments for homes, roads, schools and social and religious centers. And again, the shopping centers and industrial parks and factories. These are combined with tax relief granted to producers and residents, subsidies for homes, transport and other consumer goods.

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