King Sal­man: Saudi stance on Pales­tine re­mains firm

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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