King Salman: Saudi stance on Palestine remains firm
RIYADH—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman emphasized on Monday the kingdom’s firm stance towards the Palestinian cause and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people after he received President Mahmoud Abbas at his palace in Jeddah. The latest developments in the Palestinian territories were also reviewed during the meeting at the Saudi port city on the Red Sea.
After the meeting, King Salman received a commemorative gift from Abbas. Israel approves millions for settlements Their meeting comes in the same day when Israel’s government approved some $18 million in additional financing for West Bank settlements, calling it a response to security concerns, though the money is to be used in a variety of ways.
The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet will see some 70 million shekels ($18 million, 16 million euros) allocated to settlement-related spending. According to Haaretz newspaper, the amount is in addition to an already allocated $88 million. Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land Palestinians view as part of their future state. The United States, the European Union and many others in the international community have called for a halt to settlement building. Netanyahu’s government is however considered the most right-wing in Israel’s history, with key members of his cabinet strong supporters of settlement building and opponents of a Palestinian state.
The premier faces steady political pressure to support settlements and settlement building, which receive a range of government assistance.
The government argued the increase was needed due to security concerns. A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and carramming attacks began in October.—Agencies.