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Israel grants settlers millions to monitor Palestinian construction in occupied West Bank

Israeli forces regularly demolish Palestinian buildings constructed without near-impossible-to-acquire permits [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 January, 2021

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Israeli settlement councils have been given more than $6 million to monitor 'unauthorised' Palestinian construction.
Israel has granted illegal settlements more than $6 million to fund drones and patrol units to monitor "unauthorised" Palestinian building in the occupied West Bank.

The Settlement Affairs Ministry published on Thursday the criteria for settlement councils to gain access to the $6.2 million in funding, Haaretz reported.

The councils will be able to buy drones, vehicles and electronic monitoring equipment and pay the salaries of inspectors with the funding. 

Those inspectors will monitor Palestinian construction in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under full Israeli control. 

Palestinians living in Area C must acquire Israeli permission to build, but such permits are near-impossible to get. Just 1.4 percent of requests were approved between 2016 and 2018, according to official data.

Buildings constructed without an Israeli permit are regularly demolished by the military.

The funding will also go to erecting fences to close-off areas.

It is the first time settlement councils will have access to such funds as part of the state budget.

Under the arrangement, settlement councils will then report to an "Area C situation room" to report to officials what Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi described as the "hostile takeover of land in Area C".

More than 400,000 Israelis live in settlement communities in the occupied West Bank which are considered illegal under international law.

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