Israel Keeps Major Funding of Settlements

The Israeli government continues major funding of settlement expansions in the occupied territories amid increased international pressure aimed at halting the illegal activity.

Tel Aviv "allocates 4.1 percent (of) its total budget for municipalities to settlements although they constitute just 3.1 percent of the total Israeli population," according to a study published by the Macro Center of the Israeli European Policy Network.

"Not only do settlements distort priorities of the Israeli government’s decision-making process on economic, political and social issues, the government of Israel proactively funds more than half of their existence too," said the center’s director Roby Nathanson.

"While Israeli municipalities as a whole receive 34.7 percent of their income from the government of Israel and obtain another 64.3 percent from their own income, settlement municipalities obtain 57 percent from the government, and only 42.8 percent from their own income," the report found.

Based on the report, the settler population is also growing more than three times faster than the population of Israel proper.

Israel has repeatedly been called to halt the construction of illegal settlements including the so-called "natural growth" in existing settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The US, Russia, and the EU have called on Tel Aviv to halt all settlement activities in order to re-launch stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel, however, continues refusing to freeze settlement build-ups in the occupied territories.

(Press TV)

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