The funding is small and negligible in terms of state budgeting, but the decision generated international rage.

Israel’s government approved millions of Shekels in extra funding for local councils in Judea and Samaria, which have been contending with nine months of Palestinian terror attacks.

The cabinet approved during its weekly meeting on Sunday the transfer of 74 million Shekels ($18 M).

The funds will be designated for security, social and welfare services, tourism development and assistance to small and medium-sized businesses that have taken a financial hit due to the precarious security situation in the area.

The proposal stated that “Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria live in a unique security situation on a daily basis due to their geographic location and fabric of life in the region.”

“Since October there has been an escalation in the security situation in Judea and Samaria due to terrorist attacks and other attacks. The security escalation affects various parts of people’s lives, including a psychological and social impact, as well as an economic effect on businesses which calls for special responses and services.”

Speaking during the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the funding’s objective was to “strengthen communities in Judea and Samaria.”

“This entails the work of many ministries on behalf of the residents there and will – inter alia – strengthen security, assist small businesses and encourage tourism,” he said.

The funding is small and negligible in terms of state budgeting, but the decision generated international rage.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby reaffirmed the Obama administration’s opposition to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Saeb Erekat

PLO executive Saeb Erekat. (Amir Levy/Flash90)

“Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent. We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace,” Kirby asserted.

“We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. Actions such as these do just the opposite,” he added.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Saeb Erekat called the move a “slap in the face of the international community.”

“Israel is doing everything possible to sabotage every effort to achieve a just and lasting peace,” he charged in a statement.

Judea and Samaria is home to over 400,000 Israelis. The region has been the site of multiple Palestinian terror attacks which were carried out over the course of the past nine months.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel