Knesset approves extra $950mn for Israeli army

By Anees Barghouthy, Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The money was previously earmarked for the upgrade of public transport and water facilities

The money was previously earmarked for the upgrade of public transport and water facilities

JERUSALEM – The Knesset (Israel's parliament) on Tuesday approved the reallocation of some $950 million from the country's civilian welfare budget to the army, Israeli Radio has reported.

According to the broadcaster, the assembly's finance committee agreed to give the army 3.3 billion Israeli shekels (roughly $950 million) previously earmarked for the upgrade of public transport and water facilities, among other things.

It added that opposition lawmaker Stav Shafir had been removed from the parliamentary session due to opposition to the move.

MP Zehava Galon of the Meretz Party, for her part, criticized the government's failure to provide an explanation for the move.

She said the committee could not reallocate billions of shekels without providing an adequate explanation.

According to the Times of Israel newspaper, the recent military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip has cost the Israeli army between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion.

At least 1944 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed – and 9886 others injured, many critically – in devastating Israeli attacks since July 7.

Over the same period, thousands of homes in Gaza have been flattened by unrelenting Israeli bombardments.

Three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rocket fire since hostilities began early last month, according to official Israeli figures, while at least 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters inside the embattled Gaza Strip.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams are currently in Cairo for indirect talks aimed at hammering out a permanent ceasefire.

A three-day truce, brokered by Egypt, is set to expire on Tuesday.

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