08/13/2013, 00.00
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Israel frees 26 Palestinian prisoners, but approves 952 new settlements

The move jeopardizes the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resumed recently thanks to the mediation of the United States. The new housing units slated for Gilo, East Jerusalem. John Kerry states Netanyahu's move "undermines the credibility of Israel."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In spite of the efforts made in recent months by the international community to resume negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Jerusalem municipality has approved other 942 new settlements in Gilo (in the east of the city). Yosef Pepe Alalu, municipal councilor of Gilo, explains that the new houses will expand one of the existing settlements. The units are in addition to more than 1000 settlements approved by the government on August 11.

The move of coincides with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners scheduled for today. They were released to try to foster a climate of confidence in the peace negotiations which resumed in recent weeks under the auspices of U.S. mediation. The 26 had been imprisoned before the Oslo Accords.

According to sources close to the White House John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, has criticized the expansionist policies of Netanyahu and his entourage. He is reported to have warned the Israeli Prime Minister that it risks de-legitimizing Israel in the eyes of the international community.

According to some sources, John Kerry is using the theme "the delegitimization of Israel" to convince Netanyahu to freeze settlements in the Palestinian territories. For the U.S. diplomat, the Likud leader fears international isolation more than the Iranian nuclear program.


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