The Israeli cabinet on Sunday adopted a decision listing some Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as "national priority zones," entitling them to millions of dollars of extra state funding. The new credits will benefit 110,000 settlers and can be used for vocational training programmes and other educational or cultural activities.
According to AFP, the settlements affected on Sunday are mainly outside the large settlement blocs Israel wants to annex under any peace accord with the Palestinians. Earlier in the day, Israel's Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told public radio that the move was aimed at expressing support for settlements amid the current moratorium.
"With this, we want to send a message (to the settlers) that we understand their difficulties and want to support them," Steinitz said. The European Union on Friday voiced concern over the plan.