Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Thursday that Israel decided to forgive NIS 350 Million in personal debts owed by 3500 settlers living in 140 settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan valley.The settlers owe a combined amount of NIS 700 million, Haaretz added. The debt were 30-year loans provided to the settlers by the Israeli government between 1978 and 2007, Haaretz said.
Meanwhile all loans of settlers in Gush Katif settlement bloc and other settlements which were evacuated in the northern part of the occupied West Bank were completely erased by the Israeli ministerial disengagement committee. The erased debt is estimated by 600 Million NIS.
Yet, Haaretz reported that, so far, it is not clear if the removing of the dept will be enforces or if the settlers will have to pay part of the debt.
This debt relief decision is similar to a decision made by the Jewish Agency, which support settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories. The agency erased 140 M NIS of debt (50%) of settlers living in the Negev, the Jordan Valley and other areas close to the Green Line between Israel and the Palestinian territories.