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Israeli government body funds call center marketing illegal West Bank homes
Israeli government body funds call center marketing illegal West Bank homes
Amana housing near Ma'aleh Michmash
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Jerusalem, agencies- The World Zionist Organization’s settlement department, which is financed through Israeli budgets, has transferred more than NIS 1 million to the settlement movement Amana over the past four years. The funds have been used to operate a call center for people interested in purchasing housing in the occupied territories, including apartments that were built illegally, Harretz reported.

Amana, the settlement branch of the Yesha Council, is headed by Ze'ev ("Zambish") Hever. It operates a subsidiary company that constructs hundreds of housing units across the West Bank every year, including extensive and illegal operations in unauthorized outposts. Amana operates a call center that gives every caller details about potential purchases. The organization deliberately obscures any distinction between legal and illegal construction, and distributes a wealth of information on units that were built without permits.

In June, Haaretz reported that the budget of the WZO's settlement department keeps growing every year. In 2012, it grew from NIS 60 million to NIS 272 million.

In a report investigating the illegal outposts, written in 2005, attorney Talia Sasson found many flaws in the department's operations. Among other things, Sasson found that the department had financed illegal construction for many years in various locations.

Following that report, then Attorney General Menachem Mazuz issued directives forbidding the transfer of public funds to finance illegal construction. Nevertheless, Haaretz discovered that the settlement department at the WZO illegally transferred funds for infrastructure work, which was carried out last year at the settlement of Negohot.

Amana and the World Zionist Organization's settlement department refused to comment.