Israel has money for Palestinians, but not bomb shelters

Monday, July 02, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Member of Knesset Benny Elon on Sunday slammed the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for easily finding more than $100 million to transfer to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, while failing to allocate funds to provide Israelis with more adequate bomb shelters in the event of another war.

Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved the transfer of some $118 million to Abbas and his emergency government after the Palestinian leader parted ways with the ruling Hamas faction amid the terror group's violent military takeover of the Gaza Strip.

The funds are part of regular monthly tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, but which have been frozen since Hamas' electoral victory more than a year ago.

When it became clear Hamas would not follow up its win at the ballot box by moderating its policies, Elon and other right-wing lawmakers urged the government to use to the frozen funds for Israel's benefit.

At this point, one of the most pressing needs is the renovation and construction of additional bomb shelters in northern Israel, a problem that came to light during last summer's war against Hizballah. Military experts predict another war later this year, possibly involving Syria.

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