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Israel plans new settlements while freeing Palestinian prisoners
Published Thursday 26/12/2013 (updated) 28/12/2013 11:47
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A picture taken Dec. 3, 2013 shows the mosque at
al-Mazraa al-Qabaliya and bungalows (C) built by Israeli settlers
at an outpost constructed on land seized from the Palestinian
village near the West Bank city of Birzeit (AFP/File Abbas Momani)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel will reveal plans to build 1,400 settler homes in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem to coincide with the weekend release of Palestinian prisoners, military radio said Friday.

A third batch of Palestinian prisoners is due to be released on Sunday as part of conditions that Israel agreed to when it committed to resume US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians in July.

Palestinians have warned repeatedly that settlement building destroys the fragile peace process which US Secretary of State John Kerry struggled to revive after a three-year hiatus.

Military radio said 600 new housing units would be build in the existing settlement of Ramat Shlomo in east Jerusalem, a mostly Arab sector annexed by Israel, while the remainder would be constructed in West Bank settlements.

Israel has come in for repeated criticism from the United States and most of the international community for pressing ahead with a drive to build Jewish settlements on land Palestinians want for their future state.

Kerry and the European Union earlier this month urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay plans to announce new settlement construction.

Media reports quoted Kerry as telling Netanyahu "to exercise maximum restraint in announcing new construction."

But Netanyahu last week said nothing would stop his government from pushing ahead with the constructions.

"We will not stop, even for a moment, building our country and becoming stronger, and developing ... the settlement enterprise," Netanyahu told members of his rightwing Likud party last week.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday the Israeli government will announce tenders for new homes in tandem with freeing the next batch of Palestinian prisoners.

"The Israeli government will announce tenders for new construction in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem which will coincide with the release of a third group of Palestinian prisoners," the official told AFP.

Israel agreed to free 104 Palestinian prisoners during the peace talks, and has already released 52 in two separate batches.

A third group is due to be released Sunday -- although Israeli media said they could in fact be freed on Tuesday night -- while the remaining inmates should walk free in March 2014.

Channel 2 television reported on Thursday evening that the procedures essential to the release -- approving the names and allowing 48 hours for court petitions -- have yet to take place.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
1 ) JoeUSA / USA
26/12/2013 16:49
Israel says it wants peace but constantly prepares for war. The Palestinians condemn Israeli provocative actions ( settlement Building) yet they continue to talk peace. Something is quite basically contradictory to peace . Israel wants quiet but not coexistence.

2 ) E / usa
26/12/2013 18:02
Palestinians must decide what they want. Either release prisoners or stop constraction. You can't have everything. They have absolutely nothing to offer to israel in these peace talks so they have no right no complain. I would say israel build build build its your territory

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
26/12/2013 18:27
Uh, Joe, would you please show us where Palestinian leaders are constantly talking peace? Any quotes from Haniyeh and Mashaal would be appreciated since they won the last Palestinian elections and ever since they've been calling for war, not peace. Please show where they support peace. And I have lots of Israeli leader quotes for you showing they want peace too. So quit the rhetoric and get real. The Pals want convicted murderers released from jail. The price is new housing. That's it.

4 ) Robby / USA
26/12/2013 18:34
Why the complaining, isn't this employment opportunities for the Palestinians?

5 ) Arnold / Canada
26/12/2013 19:06
Let me explain things in a simple way. When a government decides to build new roads they calculate the cost of the work. If they decide to delay the work for another time then another cost calculation needs to submitted for approval. Each and every delay translates into a higher cost. A similar thing happens when the Palestinians refuse to make a peace deal. The Israelis go about their business anyway and use more land for expansion of existing settlements. Leaving less land to negotiate for.

6 ) betz55 / USA
26/12/2013 19:09
ICC ! ICC ! Enough of listening to Kerry and Indyck who are just pawns for Israel. Israel does not want peace, they want land. Build ! Build ! And make them nice because the Palestinians will eventually live in them insha - allah !

7 ) betz55 / USA
26/12/2013 19:29
Uh, Brian, please show us where the Israel leaders talk about peace? Please refer to the Likud party platform first and then refer to Bibi's Oslo video second, then visit Maan news to view the daily night raids, detentions, and killings by the Israelis, not to mention the continued illegal settlement building in Palestine. Please show us where they support peace and do please quote them. Quit the rhetoric and get real. The Israelis do not want peace.The price is BDS and delegitmization.Thats it.

8 ) Something / Wrong
26/12/2013 20:24
How comes that settlement construction destroys the peace talks, but release of murderous palestinian terrorists from prisons does not? Something wrong with that equation.

9 ) Mel / USA
26/12/2013 20:42
Israel's not releasing prisoners as a goodwill gesture.It's releasing OLDER/SICK POW's &making more ROOM for younger ones it plans to capture soon. Being released from prison doesn't MAKE YOU FREE,or give you more land/jobs if MORE Jewish-only colonies continue!It's easy for Israel to release a few detainees when it plans to kill/capture MORE &YOUNGER!Taking CIVILIAN POW's,indefinately,is a war crime as are MORE Jewish-only colonies. Palestine needs NOT compromise on either.

10 ) Johnny benson / USA
26/12/2013 20:57
....the Arabs lost every war...they continue to cause turmoil,of one kind or another...what can they expect?...they are deluded ,thinking that all of their friends in eroupe and the states..Russia..Iran...et all..will force Israel to give back their gains....it won't happen...and if Israel tried...the Arabs wouldn't accept the terms anyway...they want only one thing....Israel to be gone

11 ) spb / us
26/12/2013 22:49
Very refreshing and Nobel idea

12 ) gabi / australia
27/12/2013 00:56
# 2 - you are right. The Palestinisans have absolutely othing to offer in any peace talks, because it has all been taken away from them. And Israel knows this, which is why they will continue to "build build build" (which, unlike the rest of the world, you seem to applaud !! ) all the while bleating "but they won't negotiate." What in God's name can they negotiate with? They have bugger all of their land left. And no, it's not "Israel's territory". Learn a bit of history. And geography.

13 ) ian / australia
27/12/2013 04:16
#3 "Any quotes from Haniyeh and Mashaal would be appreciated..." Here's one from Khaled Mashal, Brian. He would accept "a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers, not an inch of land swaps and respecting the right of return..." It mightn't be what you want to hear but is it "calling for war"? Sounds like a genuine, reasonable offer of peace to me. (Will check tomorrow for response about Aborigines and me going back to Ireland etc.)

14 ) Brian COhen / Israel
27/12/2013 07:22
Dear Maan Editor - Thank you for the correction.

15 ) lynx / palestine
27/12/2013 11:35
More unmistakable evidence that the only viable option fir the weak and politically compromised PLO is the ICC and Hague as well as armed resistance not only in Palestine but worldwide against zionist targets. RESISTANCE is our right as enshrined in international law. The Zionist understand only force.

16 ) ian / australia
27/12/2013 12:56
#3 "The Pals want convicted murderers released from jail. The price is new housing. That's it." Spoken like a true bar-room pundit, Brian. Since when was expanding settlements a condition of the prisoner release? Since when was THAT the official agreement?

17 ) Maureen / Australia
27/12/2013 13:04
Oi, Brian Cohen, Arnold, Johnny Benson Read the headline today, Ynetnews, " Senior official: Netanyahu is driving us towards boycott." What do you think of that, eh? Good news I say! Hit the Zionist occupation where it hurts most, in the hip pocket! BOYCOTT ISRAEL! BOYCOTT ISRAEL! BOYCOTT ISRAEL!

18 ) ian / australia
27/12/2013 13:59
#4 "Why the complaining, isn't this employment opportunities for the Palestinians?" Why is that a funny comment to make, Robby, about a story about taking over someone else's home and driving them out? (Have you seen this? http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/new-video-highlights-settler-terror-against-palestinian-families). I'd leave callous to southparkbear, unhinged ranting to Johnny benson and unscrupulous skirmishing to Brian. They're better at it than you are, i.e., meaner.

19 ) ian / australia
27/12/2013 14:00
(contd.) You don't have their nasty flair. You're better than that.

20 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
27/12/2013 16:58
Go ahead and jump. Go the ICC and Hague. Israel will simply annex Area"C". Lawmaker Miri Regev introduced a bill into the Knesset to annex the Jordan Valley. Give Regev additional ammunition to get the annexation through the Knesset. Israel annexed the Old City in 1980 and no international body has made Israel un-annex it.

21 ) E / usa
27/12/2013 17:07
To #12. I know I'm right. Palestinians never had anything in their pocession in all times so I don't know how u can takes things away if u don't have anything. Israel provides them with gas phone service food so they shouldn't complain life is good there. And speaking of geograpgy and hx I don't have to look I know there was no such state as palestine. It was otoman empire british mandate jordan and than israel. No palestine and there will never be one

22 ) Kvetcher / Romania
27/12/2013 19:35
@17 Boycott Israeli made goods!! Boycott the medical advances Israel has made in the Pimvanserin group. Allow your parents to die a long and miserable death, living there dying days with Alzheimer and other dementias, or Parkinson disease. Boycott their Jewish neurology products.

23 ) Robby / USA
27/12/2013 19:37
19 ) ian / australia - thanks (I think?). Trying to be sarcastic, didn't work. New settlements do mean employment for Palestinians. I find if ironic that people (myself included) think we know whats better for people on the ground, yet we're not the ones out of work. I'm not defending or attacking settlements, but about 100k Palestinians work in them. I'm guessing for them it's not a moral statement, it's business. And if BDS ever succeeds these Palestinian workers will be the first to suffer.

24 ) Outlier / USA
27/12/2013 19:45
Carrot and stick, encouraging Palestinians to negotiate faster. May work, may not, but a good strategy, nevertheless.

25 ) Maco / Usa
27/12/2013 23:08
Build baby .... Build, let them do them, you do you ;)

26 ) ian / australia
28/12/2013 00:30
#8 "How comes that settlement construction destroys the peace talks, but release of murderous palestinian terrorists from prisons does not? Something wrong with that equation." Hey, Clarence Darrow, you mightn't personally like the idea of "murderous palestinian terrorists" being released from prison but that's what Israel agreed to as a condition for the talks. The Palestinians didn't agree to settlement expansion accompanying each release. That was Israel's nifty added extra...

27 ) ian / australia
28/12/2013 00:31
(contd.) designed to derail talks by provoking a Palestinian walk-out. Which is what happened. That's the only thing "wrong with that equation".

28 ) ian / australia
28/12/2013 00:34
#5 "...when the Palestinians refuse to make a peace deal. The Israelis go about their business anyway and use more land for expansion of existing settlements. Leaving less land to negotiate for." That's clearly true, Arnold, and just as clearly illegal. Being naked land theft. The conundrum is why you don't see that as being in any way a problem.

29 ) ian / australia
28/12/2013 00:37
#10 "....the Arabs lost every war...they are deluded ,thinking that all of their friends...will force Israel to give back their gains....it won't happen...they want only one thing....Israel to be gone" Cripes, Johnny, get out of the Middle Ages. "...their gains"? Territory can't be acquired by war anymore. And NO-ONE wants Israel "gone". No-one except Osama bin Laden and he's in no position to want anything. Being dead. EVERYONE (Hamas included) recognises Israel in its '67 borders.

30 ) ian / australia
28/12/2013 00:38
(contd.) Why overstate it like a raving hysteric? Wake up and smell the falafel.

31 ) Olivia / Hungary
28/12/2013 09:34
@17, Do you Aussie settlers, not have the sense to realise that Israeli products you may wish to boycott, are manufactured by employing Israeli Arabs , who work side by side with Israeli Jews, with equal pay rights and equal employment rights that both enjoy.

32 ) southparkbear / usa
29/12/2013 06:25
i got it, it is conspiracy to pay less to new construction workers
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