by Agence France-Presse via SMH 6:29am Sun Jun 29 '03
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are regarded as illegal. The funds for setting up a number of the illegal outposts have been channelled through a branch of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, the report by Israel Channel 2 said. "It is possible to build in the settlements, but people should not talk about it and dance around every time a building permit is given," the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Sharon as saying. "They should build without talking."
Wildcat settlers funded by 'secret state slush fund'
AFP via Sydney Morning Herald
June 28, 2003
The Israeli Government is pouring money into the establishment of illegal settlements in the West Bank - and also paying to have them dismantled, according to a report on Israeli private television.
The funds for setting up a number of the illegal outposts have been channelled through a branch of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, the report by Israel Channel 2 said. Israel had promised to dismantle unofficial settlements in the West Bank as part of the US-backed "road map" to peace.
The money, which comes out of the Government's agriculture budget, is passed on by the agency to a body representing settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whose members then use it as they see fit, the report said.
Some of the money was put towards the establishment of illegal outposts such as Adei Ad, a settlement between the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Nablus which was due to be demolished on Thursday. This was postponed at the last minute by an Israeli High Court injunction.
Government sources, cited in the television report, denied knowing the money was being used for illegal settlement activity, saying they had become aware of the funding only after they were approached by the Ministry of Defence, responsible for dismantling the outposts.
"We didn't know we were giving money to illegal settlements," the source said.
The issue of government money funding the outposts will be debated by the parliamentary finance committee on Tuesday.
M.K. Avshalom Vilan, a member of the moderate Meretz Party, described the funding as "absurd" because the Government was "with one hand transferring money to set up the outposts and with the other paying money to get rid of them", he told the channel. "If that is not the state acting at the height of stupidity, I don't know what is."
The Israeli Army began dismantling illegal outposts on June 9 in line with commitments made by the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, at the Aqaba summit in Jordan on June 4.
As part of his commitment to the US-backed Middle East peace road map, Mr Sharon pledged to get rid of "wildcat" settlements in the West Bank.
However, Mr Sharon's commitment to the removal of settlements was questioned after widespread reports that he told a cabinet meeting last Sunday that Israel did not accept the road map's requirement for it to halt all new construction in its settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
"It is possible to build in the settlements, but people should not talk about it and dance around every time a building permit is given," the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted him as saying. "They should build without talking."
According to the anti-settlement group Peace Now, more than 60 illegal outposts have been set up since Mr Sharon came to power in March 2001.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are regarded as illegal.
Agence France-Presse via SMH