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US Christian evangelical groups donated some $65 million to Israeli settlements: Report

A general view shows Israel's controversial separation barrier between the occupied West Bank village of al-Zaayem and Israel's largest settlement of Maale Adumim (background) on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Evangelical Christian groups have reportedly raised tens of millions of dollars over the past decade to fund settlement projects in the occupied West Bank as the Israeli regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories irrespective of great international outcry.

According to a report published by the English-language Haaretz daily newspaper, it is estimated the total amount of money collected in the past 10 years to be somewhere between $50 million and $65 million. 

The report added that Hayovel (The Jubilee), an American non-profit organization that claims to bring Christian volunteers from all over the world to serve Jewish farmers in occupied lands, has brought more than 1,700 volunteers to Har Brakha settlement near Nablus alone.

The paper further revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs has offered Hayovel $16,000 a year for the production of materials promoting Israel and settlements abroad.

American-born founder of the Heart of Israel (also known as the Binyamin Fund), Aaron Katsof– who lives in the West Bank settlement of Shiloh – said his association collects hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for projects in the settlements.

Katsof noted that even though evangelicals do not account for the bulk of the money he raises, they do account for the vast majority of his donors.

“You have to realize that while the average Jew gives $1,500, the average Christian gives $50,” he said. “But their share is growing very, very fast.”

A picture taken on September 27, 2018 shows Israel's controversial wall separating the settlement of Pisgat Zeev (foreground) and the Palestinian neighborhood of Anata (R) in East Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

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