News / Middle East

    Israel Approves New Settlement Homes

    A laborer stands by a construction vehicle near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, seen in this July 18, 2011, file photo.
    A laborer stands by a construction vehicle near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, seen in this July 18, 2011, file photo.
    VOA News
    Israel is inviting contractors to build almost 1,200 new homes in occupied territory claimed by the Palestinians.

    The controversial move comes three days before Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are set to resume in Jerusalem.

    Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel gave final approval for the new homes Sunday. He is seeking bids for about 800 apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and another 400 units in four West Bank settlements.

    Palestinian officials criticized the announcement, accusing Israel of bad faith ahead of Wednesday's planned meeting of Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators in Jerusalem. Israel approved the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners Sunday in advance of the talks.

    Palestinians claim East Jerusalem and the West Bank for a future independent state. They say Israeli settlement expansion will make it harder for them to achieve that.

    "We urge the Israeli government to stop these settlement activities and give the peace process the chance it deserves in order to reach the two-state solution, said Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

    The U.S. government has long refused to accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity. It calls on both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid actions that complicate negotiations.

    Ariel rejected that criticism, saying "no country in the world takes orders from other states about where it can build." He said Israel will continue settlement activity as the "right thing" to do for Zionism and the economy.

    Also Sunday, Israel approved the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners -- the first of about 100 prisoners to be freed. Israel agreed to release the prisoners as a Palestinian condition to revive peace talks. Many of them have been jailed for decades for carrying out deadly attacks on Israelis.

    Some of the more conservative members of the Israeli cabinet object to the prisoner release, calling it a reward for terrorism.

    You May Like

    Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 13, 2013 7:20 AM
    Sometimes VOA takes stand like extremist islamist Palestinian in refusing to showcase ideas and ideals that entail certain historical positions and/or misgivings that make up the news carried on these pages. But like it or not, Israel's position is either a balance between the Palestinians' choice of release of terrorists in preference to land swap and an abstract desire to live in their God-given land which the world has connived with the Arab world to cede to the Palestinians.

    Out there in Iran, Turkey and the Arab lands it is called the 'Resistance" by which they mean to outlaw Israel and deny it a right of existence. But Israel has come to be! It's a shame to them all to even reference that term against a small country of less than ten million besieged by over half a billion people scattered all over and surrounding it, except on the west coast where it has the Mediterranean Sea. Like it or not, Israel is reluctant to relinquish their God-given land of promise otherwise called the Promised Land. Ref. Isaiah 49:16-26; 65:17-26. Two state solution is not an ideal equation to get to the promised land. For now only Israel knows this.
    In Response

    by: Taha from: Virginia
    August 13, 2013 7:25 PM
    Israel is playing with fire. No nation can be kept under oppression forever. Israel should learn from its history of not distant past.
    It is good for the future of Israel and Palestine to emerge as two nations side by side and friends. This will also help world peace and stability and save trillions that we owe today.

    by: mrd
    August 13, 2013 12:17 AM
    The US is complicit in this Israeli thievery. Historic biased US actions has encouraged Israel to steal, and conduct cruel inhuman and ethnic cleansing practices towards the Palestinians. Biblical history and from other sources evidences the fact that historic Palestine was occupied by Palestinians well before Moses made his exodus from Egypt.
    In Response

    by: Rusty from: usa
    August 13, 2013 7:18 PM
    YES,YES,YES

    by: Johnny Re from: Kelowna
    August 12, 2013 11:48 PM
    it'd be cristall clear even to the most stupid person on earth that the regime in Israel has no interest in peace.. now or ever. They'll do anything to block any meaningful "negotiations.. even under the most hilarious pretense. The corner blocks for WW#3 are set..thanks to this rogue regime in Israel. Shame..shame ! ! !

    by: Adil from: India
    August 12, 2013 11:17 PM
    Why is world blinded by Israel settlements? why isn't US doing anything about it?, they are the main of peace process between them and Palestine.

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
    August 12, 2013 1:09 PM

    Releasing two dozen old prisoners in order to ease Palestinian pain of Israel building 1187 new homes for at least triple that number of Jews on stolen Arab land is, depending on where you stand nationally and religiously, either a great deal or a total disaster.
    Native American Indians, who have a sad history of being destroyed by such “treaties” will tell anybody listening it is a disguised form of what today is almost politely called ethnic cleansing.
    In Response

    by: wal man from: boston, ma
    August 12, 2013 11:34 PM
    Just where was this land stolen from? From what I can remember Egypt started a war and they lost. They lost land claimed by Israel. The so called Palestinians have no claim to the land or to the ancient peoples they took the name from. They are Arabs. To legitimize these people who have literally wasted generations in the pursuit of destroying Israel is amazing to me. Since 1948 they haven't even produced pocket combs! But they sure can dig and make bombs and shoot from behind children and women. Why should Israel continue to give up high ground? So the Arabs can shoot at them better?

    by: TonyBellchambers from: London
    August 12, 2013 2:22 AM

    It is instructive that these Palestinian political prisoners jailed for attempting to regain stolen lands are termed criminals whilst the Irgun terrorists who massacred the entire Arab village at Deir Yassin are termed freedom fighters as are the terrorists who blew up the King David hotel in Jerusalem killing 91 innocent people.

    And of course the IDF soldiers who killed 307 children under the age of sixteen in Gaza in 2008 are heroes.

    by: Richard from: Manchester
    August 11, 2013 6:57 PM
    The Palestinians were offered a settlement freeze before the latest peace talks began, but the Palestinians asked for the prisoner release instead. This clearly shows that the Palestinians are more interested in bringing home Jew-murdering terrorists and makes a mockery of their absurd claim that settlements are the obstacle to peace. If the settlements are so controversial, then why reject the offer a freeze?
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 13, 2013 11:15 AM
    My message is wrongly directed at Paul instead of rc from: US. Pls read as corrected.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 13, 2013 11:13 AM
    Can people like Paul from: US shut up and keep silent forever! The hateful venom in him is large enough to kill the entire North Korean army during the 3rd world war. But reserve it for the D-day, and don't be surprised how the sun will stand still until God's own people have had their victory. You wish Palestine has some people supporting it right now, but then we shall see who will have the upper hand. So simply shut up and let the situation sort out itself - as God lives.
    In Response

    by: Paul from: US
    August 12, 2013 11:41 PM
    Richard from Manchester, can you provide like for your sources... Thanks
    In Response

    by: rc from: US
    August 12, 2013 11:27 PM
    It is not hard - if you study history - to see what is going to happen to Israel if it keeps building these settlements, and refuses to give Palestine the same rights that Israel was given. It will not be pretty.. and the usa will get dragged into it. Forget the back and forth, and forget the positions.. and Richard.. forget what the Palestinians did or the Israelis did. The settlements are sowing the destruction of Israel as surely as anything else the nation could do to commit suicide.
    It gives the Palestinians and others a burning reason to hate Israel.. and those millions full of hate will soon outnumber the jewish people based on my readings. How is Israel going to keep the rabid foes at bay - given that kind of hatred... If they had settled this long ago... things would be so much better...maybe not perfect... but so much better... but now.. it is only a matter of time before something really bad happens.. and many people on both sides will be killed when it does. I want Israel to be vibrant and to keep surviving and flourishing, but what they are doing is like playing Russian roulette.. eventually that bullet will be in the chamber-- and blood will be everywhere.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.