Monday, August 5, 2013
Israeli cabinet puts some 20 settlements on list of communities that will receive extra benefits
The recently 'legalized' settlement of Bruchin near Nablus was one of the places that is to receive exta benefits.
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a new map of national priority areas, which includes an additional 20 West Bank settlements and communities inhabited by former Gaza settlers.The list of national priority areas features hundreds of towns and villages that are entitled to government benefits in housing, infrastructure, education, culture and security. The list was last updated in 2009 to include dozens new West Bank settlements.
Fifteen out of 20 communities to receive national priority status are strongholds of Habayit Hayehudi, one of the coalition partners and the party of minister of Economy aftali Bennett. Conversely, two orthodox communities have been removed from the list. The Israeli government denies, however, that the decision is politically motivated, it claims that the reason for including settlements on the list has to do with security.
Four ministers abstained in Sunday's vote, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz of the Tenuah party. They blamed the government for promoting a partisan agenda at the expense of a national one."It is unacceptable that [northern Negev towns] Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi are not on the list due to so-called proximity to the center, despite their difficult socioeconomic state, and at the same time include remote settlements, that were until recently illegal outposts, under the guise of 'security needs,'" Peretz said.
Some of the newly prioritized communities are outside the large settlement blocs, like Eshkolot and Negohot in the southern Hebron Hills. Other settlements on the list include Rehelim, Sansana and Bruchin, which were considered illegal outposts until several months ago, but were legalized by the cabinet before the last elections. Other settlements on the list are the West Bank settlements of Nofim, Geva Binyamin, Ma’aleh Michmash and Elon Moreh.
Several communities populated by former Gaza Strip settlers, who were evacuated from their communities in 2005, were also added to the list. These are Be’er Ganim, Bnei Dekalim, Ganei Tal, Netzer Hazani and Nitzan.