Israel announces $12.9m boost to West Bank settlements

AP , Sunday 10 Jul 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government will fund a $12.9 million plan to strengthen two Israeli settlements in the southern West Bank.

Netanyahu said Sunday that funding will go to Kiryat Arba and to Israeli settlers in the adjacent Palestinian city of Hebron. The announcement came after a Palestinian stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli in her bed in Kiryat Arba in late June.

Since the start of October, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 214 Palestinians. Meanwhile, almost daily stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks by frustrated Palestinians have killed 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

The current wave of protests by Palestinians and repression by Israeli occupation forces started in July 2015 when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

Last week Netanyahu authorized hundreds of new homes for Israelis in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a response to the alleged Palestinian violence.

Palestinians and the international community say Israeli settlement construction is an obstacle to peace.

Settlement-building, racial discrimination, confiscation of identity cards, long queues at checkpoints, as well as daily clashes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, describe Palestinians' daily suffering.

The anger of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem has increased in the last three years after the Israeli authorities allowed increasing numbers of Jewish settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The surge in violence has been fuelled by Palestinians' frustration over Israel's 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Palestinian leaders say a younger generation sees no hope for the future living under Israeli security restrictions and with a stifled economy. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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