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Israel approves millions in extra funds for illegal settlements

A general view of buildings under construction in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 7, 2016 (AFP)

The Israeli regime on Sunday approved USD 18 million in extra funding for the illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories despite international criticism.

David Keyes, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the funds were allocated by the cabinet for settlement-related spending in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli media outlets said the sum is to supplement a budget of about USD 88 million agreed upon last year.

Opposition lawmaker, Amir Peretz, of the Zionist Union accused the regime of “wasting money on political settlements” instead of helping families within Israel.

Palestinian chief negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Saeb Erekat called the move a "slap in the face of the international community."

"Israel is doing everything possible to sabotage every effort to achieve a just and lasting peace," Erekat said in a statement.

Besides the settlement funds, the Tel Aviv regime was also expected to approve the allocation of USD 20.7 million to ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminaries.

A general view of Silwan, a neighborhood in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), next to the historic Old City (background), June 15, 2016 (AFP photo)

Israeli municipal authorities recently issued permission for the construction of new illegal units for settlers in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem). The project to construct a three-story building for Israeli settlers in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, located on the outskirts of the Old City of al-Quds, was approved on June 15.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East al-Quds.

All the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. However, Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop settlement expansions.

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