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US donors paid $220 million for Israel's illegal settlements, report reveals

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Israeli settlement of Givat Ze'ev in the West Bank (Reuters)

An investigation by an Israeli daily reveals that US donors have channeled over 200 million dollars into Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank in recent years.

In a report published on Monday, the Haaretz daily said private American donors, including some 50 nonprofit organizations from across the country, have pumped some $220 million into the illegal settlements in recent years through tax-deductible donations.

The tax-deductible status means the US government "is incentivizing and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement," even though Washington claims that settlement construction is an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

The investigation found that the money sent by American donors is either spent on providing legal aid to Israelis for the terrorist activities or for improving the living conditions of Israeli settlers.

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned that continued settlement construction and other Israeli policies in the West Bank could endanger Israel itself.

Kerry also called on Palestinians and Israelis to de-escalate the situation and show a genuine commitment to peace.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlement colonies built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

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.

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