Palestinians condemn Israel for widening subsidies for Jewish settlements

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Palestinians condemn Israel for widening subsidies for Jewish settlements

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The Palestinian Authority has condemned Israel’s decision to subsidise several more Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli cabinet put another six on a “national priority” spending list.

The status makes settlements and border towns eligible for extra funding the government says is needed for security reasons.

The Palestinians say the move will damage peace talks.

“We condemn this step,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing Israel of seeking to “put obstacles in the way of US-backed (peace) efforts.”

“The biggest mistake was that in negotiations the Palestinian Authority didn’t stress that settlement expansion had to be stopped, and failed to demand a clear position from Washington on Israeli colonial expansion,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, and executive committee member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), a large portion of which opposed the resumption of the recent talks.

The next Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are due to be held next week, following last week’s first session in nearly three years hosted in Washington by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israel’s chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, was one of four in the government who abstained from the vote on the new list.

91 of hundreds of Jewish settlements given priority status are in the occupied West Bank, considered illegal by the UN, the international court and most countries.

The Palestinians agreed to more talks after Israel agreed to free over 100 prisoners.