In a major setback to plans for the evacuation of Jewish settlements in parts of the Palestinian territories, an Israeli parliamentary committee approved Monday more than $20 million in new funding for Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The majority of the funding will come from money previously allocated to housing projects for people in need or for public buildings, Haaretz reported. The financing will be injected in the form of loans into housing developments in Jewish settlements and protecting Jewish residents in East Jerusalem.
According to the American-brokered Road Map peace plan signed this past June, Israel was to freeze settlement-growth and evacuate unauthorized outposts while the Palestinian Authority was to crack down on terror.
Shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised US President George Bush in July that the government would dismantle unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank, a tender was issued for an additional 22 housing units for Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip.
The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza continues to grow at a rate almost three times Israel’s national rate, according to the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington. Settlements in the West Bank currently have a population of over 220,000 people, slightly higher than the number of Israelis residing in East Jerusalem. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )