Netanyahu announces investment in areas near Gaza after criticism

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Jerusalem, Nov 16 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allocated $135 million for communities near the Gaza Strip, which have been affected by the firing of rockets from the enclave, after Israeli residents criticized the acceptance of a ceasefire there, authorities said on Friday.

Netanyahu held a meeting on Thursday with political leaders of regional councils, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Chief of General Staff Gadi Eizenkot, in which he announced an annual programme to strengthen the emergency infrastructure, social and security benefits, among others, Efe news reported.

The investment included subsidies for day-care centres and an increase in agricultural quotas such as egg and milk production, which will be presented for government approval in the coming weeks.

At the time of Netanyahu’s meeting, hundreds of Israeli residents from the areas adjacent to the strip protested in Tel Aviv against the ceasefire reached on Tuesday.

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The latest violence began after an Israeli special forces undercover operation in Gaza was exposed on Sunday, triggering clashes that left seven Palestinian militants and one Israeli soldier dead.

Nour Baraka, a commander from Hamas’ military wing, was also killed in the operation.

Israeli residents believe that their country’s action was weak after militants launched more than 460 rockets and mortars from the strip. Israel and its aviation tanks responded with bombings against 160 targets in Gaza.

The truce brokered by Egypt, with support from the UN, to contain the violence prompted the resignation of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who demanded a large-scale operation in Gaza against the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the strip.

–IANS

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