Palestinians walk on a dirt road near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maon, south of Hebron May 19, 2014. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
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Israeli lawmakers are pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lift what they call unjustified secrecy over opaque -- and rising -- funding for settlements on occupied West Bank land Palestinians want for a state.Unpublished official data reviewed by Reuters suggests state spending on settlers rose by a third after Netanyahu took office in 2009 and critics complain that the cost of settlements has long remained hidden in thickets of budgetary convolution.Agreeing on the total fiscal cost of the settlements, which are home to more than half a million people or some 6 percent of Israelis, is all but impossible, not least since views differ on how they contribute to the costs and benefits of the military occupation of lands seized in the 1967 war against Arab armies.The figures are small in terms of total state spending of 366 billion shekels in 2012, itself 13.5 percent up on 2009 .Some 2.7 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.The CBS data showed its spending on settlements grew tenfold from 2008 to 2012, albeit to a modest 84.1 million shekels.The Settlement Division helped families rebuild nearby, still in the West Bank.
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