Israel is to invest some $80 million in the Golan Heights, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.
The money will be divided between housing, agriculture, industrial projects and tourism.
The news was broken just two days after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his country is prepared to enter peace negotiations with Syria, but only without preconditions.
Syria is insisting talks resume from the point at which they broke off in 2000, when then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak had already agreed to some territorial compromise on the Golan Heights.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, ‘Isa Dawish, said, “This measure is not acknowledged by us. Israel is deluded if it thinks it can achieve something by relying on power and occupation,” according to the website of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera.
Dawish was asked whether Israel’s move is an attempt to preempt any future peace negotiations between Israel and Syria. “Conflicts are not resolved through power, they should be resolved under international law,” he said.
The Golan was captured by Israel, after it was attacked by Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.
The Golan Heights border Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.