The New Arab / April 20, 2023
Israel’s extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Transport Minister Miri Regev reportedly also decided to allocate 160 million shekels a year to create and expand roads and infrastructure serving settlements.
The Israeli government has decided to allocate over $1 billion to developing roads serving illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The sum of around four billion Israeli shekels will come from the general budget.
It comes as the Palestinian foreign ministry condemned settlements, calling them an “open war” on its people and their rights in a tweet on Thursday.
Israel’s extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and the Transport Minister, Miri Regev, also decided to allocate 160 million shekels a year to create and expand roads and infrastructure serving settlements, the religious Zionist media outlet Arutz Sheva reported.
Financing roads serving West Bank settlements will make up 25.69 percent of the budget Israel allocates to its network of strategic roads, Arutz Sheva said.
The government’s plans boost the links between settlements in the west and centre of the West Bank with Israel, and could pave the way for the settlements’ annexation to Israel, as called for by Israeli extremists.
It was decided half a billion shekels would be allocated to widen the road connecting a junction near the Ariel settlement, located near Israel, and another junction south of Nablus in the central West Bank.
The plan also gives special attention to the development of the road network serving settlements near the cities of Nablus, Ramallah, and Jerusalem.
Settlements are viewed as a key barrier to achieving a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel as they carve up Palestinian territory.
There are 700,000 Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and they often use violence against Palestinians.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed almost 100 Palestinians far in 2023.