Israel has announced plans to create indoor plants in the west bank that will allow Palestinians to grow outdoor plants, including those for indoor use.
The initiative, which was launched in September, is aimed at providing a livelihood for Palestinian farmers and urban residents in the occupied territories, said Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.
He added that the plants will be planted by Palestinians and Israel will provide financial assistance to help them with the cost of planting.
The announcement comes as Israel, a staunch ally of the United States, has become increasingly concerned about the rise of Palestinian militants in the country’s West Bank and Gaza Strip, who have fired rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, triggering a deadly wave of Israeli airstrikes.
Last year, Israeli authorities arrested more than 20 Palestinians for throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the homes of Israeli soldiers and police.
In the past few weeks, Israel has also seen the rise in attacks on the homes and offices of prominent Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Israeli-American Council.
In a statement on Monday, Ariel said the government will “provide financial support for the project to ensure that it can be carried out successfully and in accordance with international guidelines.”
Israel’s Agriculture Ministry said the program will cost about $1.5 million ($1.3 million) and is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.
In recent months, Israel’s Agriculture Minister Yuval Steinitz has called for the establishment of a Palestinian agricultural hub in the western part of the West bank.
That initiative was also opposed by the Israeli government.
Last week, the U.S. State Department called on Israel to halt its expansion of the Israeli settlement enterprise in the territory, saying it was creating a “security environment” for Palestinian groups to carry out terrorist attacks.
In addition, Israeli officials said earlier this month that Israel was considering imposing a travel ban on Palestinians from the West, which could include all Palestinian citizens of Israel, unless they were granted special permission by Israel’s foreign minister.