Friday, 25 October 2013

Israel to issue tenders for new settlement units

Israeli sources have reported that the Israeli Housing Ministry is planning to issue tenders for the construction of hundreds of units in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, this coming week.

Israeli daily, Haaretz, quoted a government official stating that the announcement of the bids will take place as Israeli releases 25 Palestinian political prisoners, part of the second stage of detainees’ release to boost direct talks with the Palestinians.

The new constructions will be in major settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, and in occupied East Jerusalem.

Haaretz said that the official claimed that the understandings, mediated by the United States, leading to the resumption of direct peace talks with the Palestinians, “did not include any commitment from Tel Aviv to freeze settlement construction activities”.

It added that, during their Wednesday meeting in Rome, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, informed U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, of the new Israeli construction plan. Kerry also informed the Palestinians of the Israeli decision. more

Israel weighs prisoner release

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli ministers are to meet Sunday to approve the release of a second batch of Palestinian prisoners under the terms of renewed peace talks, media said.

Maariv daily said Thursday that 26 prisoners would be freed, the same number as in the first tranche in August.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said two days before the July 30 resumption of talks that he had "agreed to free 104 Palestinians in stages, after the start of negotiations and according to progress."

Since the August release, Netanyahu's office has made no statement on a second round.

Maariv said the next handover would take place on Tuesday. more