Netanyahu and Trump lampooned in mural.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Spending on West Bank settlements spiked by 39% in 2017, the first year US President Donald Trump was in office, the left-wing group Peace Now reported on Tuesday.
In 2017, the government spent NIS 1.650 billion on the settlements, compared to NIS 1.189b. in 2016. This was the largest sum spent on the settlements in at least a decade.
Peace Now issued the data as part of a larger report it published on West Bank settlements in the decade of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.
Netanyahu’s support for the settlement enterprise is believed to have been reigned in by former democratic US president Barack Obama, who was in office from January 2009 to January 2017.
Trump is perceived to be supportive of the settlements in Judea and Samaria. But the jump in spending had actually begun the prior year, 2016 under Obama, when it rose by 20% from NIS 990.4 million in 2015.
Overall Netanyahu has spent over NIS 10 billion on settlements since taking office in 2009, Peace Now said.
It based its numbers on data received from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Peace Now explained that the money in question refers to surplus sums added into the budget, and does not include services offered the residents or security-related funds.
Israel calculates these funds to satisfy a 1991 reporting requirement by the US government. It then deducts that sum from the loan guarantees the US offers Israel.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press published an article on this surplus spending. In 2017, according to AP, the NIS 1.650b. went to school construction, for which funding jumped by 68%, and for road construction, by which funding went up by 54%.
Neither AP nor Peace Now had full data for government spending on settlements in 2018.
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