Israel’s cabinet has expanded its list of “priority” settlements eligible for special subsidies from the government, adding 20 to the list, including several in territory outside of the main block.
The “national priority list” includes a number of poorer Israeli towns, but has also included settlements. Peace Now notes that overwhelmingly, the 91 settlements on the list are in areas that are meant to be evacuated for a Palestinian state. Instead they’re being tabbed for subsidies for growth.
Many are also seeing political subsidy behind this move, as the settlements added include several important strongholds for Jewish Home voters. Jewish Home threatened to split the coalition government over their opposition to peace talks, and has already gotten a promise of massive settlement expansions out of Netanyahu for allowing the talks to continue.
The problem is that the pledged expansions were already in contradiction to promises of a “secret” settlement freeze made to the Palestinians, and the new additions to the priority list are just another reason for Palestinians not to have faith in the talks.