Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Israel okays plans for over 550 East Jerusalem settler homes

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel on Wednesday pushed forward with plans to build more than 550 new homes in illegal settlements in annexed East Jerusalem, the city council said.

In a statement listing "building permits that were approved" during a local planning committee session, it said permits were granted to private contractors to build 386 units in Har Homa, 136 units in Neve Yaakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev.

Issuing construction permits is one of the last stages before construction begins, with building likely to start in the coming weeks, Israel's Peace Now settlement watchdog said.

Israel and the Palestinians began a round of direct peace talks at the end of July with the aim of reaching an agreement within nine months.

But the US-led negotiations have been overshadowed by Israel's refusal to rein in construction plans on occupied Palestinian land. more

Hamas redeploys forces along Gaza border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas government in Gaza has redeployed security forces along its borders with Israel to prevent rocket fire, an interior ministry official said Tuesday.

Islam Shahwan said that the interior ministry's role is to "secure and fortify the home front and the agreements approved by resistance factions to realize our people's interests, security and stability."

The "resistance in Gaza will not allow the occupation to violate the ceasefire which had been reached after the occupation was defeated in the 2012 battle," he added.

Days earlier, a security source in Gaza said that Hamas had withdrawn a special security force tasked with preventing rocket fire at Israel. more