World News

Israel Announces Settlement Projects Following Prison Release

Israel has announced plans to build new homes in East Jerusalem, hours after freeing a group of Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to revive peace talks.

The government said Wednesday one of the four projects includes 1,500 homes in the Ramat Shlomo area. The last prisoner release, which took place in August, was also followed by an announcement of new settlement construction.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, and refused to take part in past peace talks while Israel continued to build there.

The 26 prisoners freed Tuesday were given a hero's welcome as they returned to the West Bank and Gaza.

Their release was the second of a four-stage process to free 104 Palestinians.



Many of those released were jailed for killing Israelis, and some had been imprisoned for more than 20 years. Thousands of Palestinians remain behind bars.

The prison release has outraged many Israelis who call it a reward for terrorism. But the Israeli Supreme Court refused to stop it.

VOA Exclusive

Virologist Spencer Stonier works with Ebola samples in a maximum danger bio-safety laboratory at USAMRIID in Fort Detrick, Maryland, December 11, 2014.

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More