News / Middle East

Israel Pursues Plans for Settler Homes as Kerry Wraps Trip

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Israel published plans on Monday to build 272 homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up his 10th visit in a year trying to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Palestinians fear Israeli settlements, built on occupied land and deemed illegal by the United Nations, will deny them a viable state and have warned that further construction could derail the talks that Kerry has struggled to keep on track.

The U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in July after a three-year freeze, with Kerry pushing for an agreement within nine months despite scepticism on both sides that a successful outcome is possible. Israel says it is building settler homes in areas it intends to keep in any final peace agreement.

"What we're seeing today is the implementation of a decision from October," said an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. He was referring to formal publication of the settlement home-building scheme. The public will now have 60 days to voice any opposition before the plan moves forward.

A Defense Ministry official said the plans for 272 more homes in the Ofra and Karnei Shomron settlements were preliminary and must pass a few more stages of authorization before construction began.

Kerry shuttled between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and even visited Jordan and Saudi Arabia, on his latest peacemaking trip in pursuit of a "framework agreement" that would pave the way to a permanent accord.

While Palestinians see a major obstacle in Israel's settlement policy, many Israelis question the credibility of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, especially as Gaza is run by his rivals - Hamas Islamists who oppose peacemaking.

Still, Kerry said on Saturday that Israel and the Palestinians were making progress towards a framework deal but still have some way to go.

While pursuing settlement expansion, Israel has been releasing Palestinian prisoners in four stages as part of U.S.-brokered peace efforts.

In all, 104 long-serving Palestinian inmates, most convicted of killing Israelis, will be freed in what the United States sees as a vital confidence-building measure.

Twenty-six were freed last month in the third stage of the releases.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid