World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel's parliament (Knesset) has approved additional 20 million shekels (around $5.2 million) to boost security in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, raising the total spent this year towards that end to more than 100 million shekels (roughly $26 million), local media reported Sunday.
The additional funds approved by the Knesset Finance Committee meant that protecting each Jewish settler in the holy city cost Israel 30,000 shekels (around $8,000) a year, Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported, citing Finance Ministry calculations.
According to the paper, Israeli Housing and Construction Ministry said the additional funds are needed to purchase more cameras and other advanced technology in order to boost security for less than 3,000 Jewish settlers living in densely populated Palestinian areas in East Jerusalem.
Unrest has been running high in East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish settlers in July and Israel's subsequent 51-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip in July and August, in which over 2,160 Palestinians – the vast majority of them civilians – were killed.
Making matters worse, increasingly frequent intrusions by Israeli officials and Jewish settlers into East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – along with fresh restrictions on Muslim worshippers at the site – have angered Palestinians and often led to clashes.
Tensions mounted even further when Israel temporarily closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in late October after an extremist rabbi was injured in a drive-by shooting in West Jerusalem.
Since then, a total of 11 Israelis have been killed and several others injured in a spate of assaults by Palestinians, both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.
Sacred to both Muslims and Jews, Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.Last Mod: 23 Kasım 2014, 12:46