Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel’s finance committee approves rise in 2024 budget deficit amid Gaza war

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Israel’s parliamentary finance committee cleared a proposal to sharply raise the budget deficit target for 2024 to 6.6 percent of gross domestic product from a planned 2.25 percent due to higher spending to help finance the war against Palestinian group Hamas.

The committee’s approval paves the way for a full parliamentary vote in the coming weeks.

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The war that is focused mainly in Hamas-controlled Gaza is nearly five months old and has boosted costs on defense and compensation to those impacted by the conflict.

These include businesses and those who live in border towns near Gaza in the country’s south and Lebanon in the north - where Hezbollah has been firing rockets - as well as to hotels where tens of thousands of displaced Israelis have been staying.

“The difference in the deficit target amounts to approximately 70 billion shekels ($19 billion) and is intended to finance the additional expenses required as a result of the war,” the finance committee said in a statement.

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Israel’s parliament earlier this month gave its initial approval to an amended 2024 state budget of 584 billion shekels, or 724 billion shekels including debt repayment.

Israel last year approved a two-year budget for 2023 and 2024, but the Gaza war has shaken up government finances, requiring budget changes and additional spending.

with Reuters

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