Friday, January 19, 2007

Israel unfreezes $100M before summit

Israel said Friday it had paid $100 million in frozen tax funds to the Palestinians and rescinded a contentious decision for a new West Bank settlement, strengthening the hand of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of crucial weekend talks in Damascus with his Hamas rivals.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said the payment, the first such transfer since the militant Islamic Hamas won control of the Palestinian government in March 2006, was made Thursday night.
In other news, Olmert announced that Israel will spend $70 million to build bomb shelters near the Gaza border.
Olmert told a group of municipal leaders he made the decision after determining six years of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza was threatening the "inner balance" of the communities, YNetNews reported.
That should come in handy with $100 million worth of rockets and mortars headed their way.

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