Bereaved families and regional council heads end hunger strike after compromise reached on funding for security upgrades.
Bereaved families and regional council heads from Judea and Samaria agreed to end their hunger strike on Friday after a compromise was reached with the government on providing funding for necessary security upgrades in the region.
The families and council heads have been protesting outside the Prime Minister's Residence in recent weeks, demanding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fulfill his promise to fund the security upgrades.
According to the agreements reached between the regional council heads and Netanyahu, 200 million shekels will be allocated for the immediate construction of bypass roads and another 600 million shekels will be transferred in January 2018 for additional bypass roads, lighting, cellular reception on the roads and protection of buses.
The agreements were reached through the mediation of coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud), Netanyahu's chief of staff Yoav Horowitz, and with the assistance of MK Oren Hazan (Likud) and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud).
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "I respect and honor the bereaved families who lost their loved ones, I too am from a bereaved family, and I understand their unparalleled pain. I turn to the families today and ask them to end their hunger strike and return to their homes."
The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said, "This is a historic day. After almost three weeks of a sit-in on the sidewalk outside the Prime Minister's Residence and six days of a hunger strike, we reached an agreement with the prime minister which guarantees the funding for the bypass roads and security components on the roads - cellular reception, road lighting and bus protection.
"In light of the agreement, we announce the cessation of the hunger strike and we heed the call of the prime minister to dismantle the protest tent and return to our homes. This is a historic agreement,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Home party said later on Friday that the funds promised as part of the agreement are actually coalition funds that were already earmarked for this purpose.
"This is money that has already been promised for infrastructures in Judea and Samaria on the day that the government approved the budget. I personally made sure that the treasury is behind this commitment and therefore there is nothing new about this," MK Bezalel Smotrich told Arutz Sheva.
He added that "the 2015 and 2016 budgets also included 200 million shekels for infrastructures in Judea and Samaria. The agreement was that a joint committee made up of members of the Likud and the Jewish Home would be formed, and the money would be divided as follows: 100 million from the Finance Ministry, 50 million from the Transportation Ministry and 50 million from the Prime Minister's Office."