The Palestinian Authority (PA) has slammed Tel Aviv for expanding its list of Israeli settlements eligible for subsidies. On Sunday, Israel added 20 settlements in the West Bank to the 2009 list, prioritized to receive aid in housing, infrastructure, and security spending. The list of 91 settlements includes communities that Israel intends to keep control over under any agreement reached with the PA. On July 30, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israel and the PA will resume talks within the next two weeks. Last Palestinian-Israeli talks stalled in 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
"This is exactly what Israel wants, have a process for its own sake, and at the same time have a free hand to destroy the objective of the process," said Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi, adding that this "will have a destructive impact [on the talks]."This comes shortly after Israel approved loans for several more settlements it says are located on “national priority areas.” Tel Aviv is aiming to attract more settlers to areas that should be evacuated in case of the formation of a Palestinian state. Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967. More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967. The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands. SZH/PR