Settler growth `death to peace'

Palestinian leaders and opposition Israelis last night predicted a new explosion of violence after Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government restored social and economic incentives for Jews to settle the West Bank that were abolished four years ago by the late Labour prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

They condemned the decision, taken yesterday in response to Wednesday's Palestinian killing of a mother and son from the Beit El settlement, as a death blow to the ailing peace process. Hamas, which rocked Israel with a series of suicide bombings early this year, is already threatening to resume its attacks.

Hanan Ashrawi, a minister in Yasser Arafat's Palestinian administration, denounced the Israeli decision as an aggressive act. "It's taking us back to the days of confrontation, to the days before the peace process," she told The Independent. "It's a very dangerous decision. It not only violates the integrity of the peace process, it removes any chance of peace."

Ephraim Sneh, a candidate to succeed Shimon Peres as Labour Party leader, criticised the settlement initiative as "a prescription for new outbursts of violence and the collapse of the interim arrangement with the Palestinians". Mr Sneh, a former military governor of the West Bank, accused Mr Netanyahu of wanting to turn it into another Bosnia.

Galia Golan, a spokeswoman for the Peace Now movement, argued: "Netanyahu intends to expand settlements. That means expropriating Arab land; that means more building; that means creating incentives for people to go and live there. Each one of these steps makes it more difficult for Arafat to negotiate."

The decision did not specify how many additional homes ministers would sanction. But the intention was clearly to consolidate and expand the Jewish presence in the heartland of the West Bank. It offers tax breaks to settlers and commits the government to invest more in social services in the settlements. It provides state loans of 60,000 shekels (pounds 12,000) to homebuyers there, with 50 per cent of that amount turning into a grant if they stay put. And it dangles incentives before firms to establish factories.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scored twice to add to the hat-trick he registered in the first leg in Switzerland
football
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Print / Warehouse Operative

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Assistant

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Advisor

£13000 - £13500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Energy Broker & Sales Consultant - OTE £65,000

£18000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Long-established Energy Brokers...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower