Israel seeks to fund hotel-building in West Bank

An Israeli soldier prevents a Palestinian farmer (L) from cultivating his field in the West Bank village of Tuqua (AFP Photo / Musa AL-Shaer)
Israeli authorities are set to approve a grant program for building hotels in occupied West Bank territories. This is despite repeated UN warnings that Jewish settlements there are illegal under international law.

­An interministerial committee of experts will name priority areas, which are expected to include the West Bank, and then will hand its proposal to the cabinet.

Until recently, the grants were only given to develop on Israeli territory according to recommendations from a special committee, who mapped out the country's priority areas eligible for grants in 2007.

Currently the Tourism Ministry is studying a draft resolution recommending building hotel accommodations in the West Bank, Haaretz reports. The document proposes the construction hotels in the Jewish settlement of Maal Adumim, just outside Jerusalem, and in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to the south.

The Tourism Ministry seeks to increase the supply of hotel rooms in the Jerusalem area due to high demand for tourist accommodations in the city.

The draft says that constructing additional hotels in nearby territories such as Maal Adumim and Gush Etzion will significantly improve the situation.

The West Bank territory has been the subject of dispute since Israel occupied it during a war in 1967; it has remained under Israeli military control since.

The UN considers it Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. In 1979, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution affirming Palestine's right to sovereignty in the West Bank. However, the situation on the ground is quite different, with Israel imposing strict control over the area.