Israeli party leader links West Bank settlement funds to government corruption

An Israeli party leader says tens of millions of dollars that were hastily allotted to Jewish settlements in the West Bank last month amounts to corruption.

Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid says the 300 million shekels ($76 million) was meant to buy votes from settlers for party primaries ahead of March 17 elections. Lapid linked the move to corruption scandals that have rocked the country. His speech Thursday to his Yesh Atid party presented corruption as a central election issue.

Lapid says he held back the funds but that they were transferred after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired him from the Cabinet over disagreements.

Lapid's remarks come after the Palestinians announced they were joining the International Criminal Court, where they could challenge Israeli settlement building.