World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel was planning to advance four building projects in east Jerusalem as "compensation" for the overnight release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, Israeli media cited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying.
Israel's Interior Ministry said 1,500 housing units will be built in Ramat Shlomo, a settlement for mainly Ultra-Orthodox Jews established in East Jerusalem in 1995.
Palestinians see the settlements as obstacles to achieving a viable state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Most countries deem Israeli settlements there as illegal.
Israel counts Ramat Shlomo as part of its Jerusalem municipality and says the city will remain its eternal, indivisible capital -- something Palestinians say is unacceptable.
U.S.-brokered peace talks between the two sides restarted in July after a three-year hiatus.
The release of Palestinian prisoners, all of whom were convicted of killing Israelis at least 20 years ago, was part of the package worked out by Washington to revive the long-dormant negotiations.
Palestinians have warned that continued settlement expansion could put the negotiations at risk.
In addition, he said current owners of apartments in Ramat Shlomo would be allowed to expand their homes with another room to the size of 50 square-meters.Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2013, 14:43