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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www.imemc.org, for Thursday, March 11th, 2010.
Israeli peace groups reveal plans for 50,000 new settlers’ units in Jerusalem while Israeli troops detain 14 civilians during invasions targeting West Bank communities. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned.
The News Cast
As U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, in the region to jumpstart the stalled Palestinian Israeli peace talks, the Israeli peace group Ir Amim, reported today that the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality is currently looking into a plan to build 50,000 homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
Ir Amim or “City of Nations” in English says most of the units will be built in different parts of occupied East Jerusalem, mainly in Palestinian neighborhoods. The peace group added that 20.000 homes are currently in the planning stages in the official departments and licensing; while 1,600 homes have already been approved by the Israeli government on Tuesday.
Biden, stated that Israel’s settlement construction undermines the efforts to restart the Middle East peace process. Biden is visiting the region amidst efforts to start short indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians mediated by the USA. The Palestinian Authority today announced that there will be no direct or indirect talks with Israeli as long as settlement construction continues.
Ziyad Al Ehmory, the Director of the Jerusalem center of Economic and Social Rights, said the U.S administration agree with Israel’s policy towards settlements.
‘Apparently there is an agreement between Israel and the U.S on the settlements issue because we see new construction every time a U.S official comes to visit. Clearly this is a message from Netanyahu, which is two conditions Israeli need before the peace talks, one is the Jewish identity of Israel, and the other is that Jerusalem is its unified capital.’
There are 500,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank settlement, 200,000 of those live in Jerusalem settlements. Under international law all Israeli settlements in the West Bank including Jerusalem are illegal.
In other news, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza reported today that Israel’s army conducted at least 18 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank during this week. According to the group’s report during those attacks troops detained 14 Palestinian civilians, including two children.
Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org. This report has been brought to you, by Ghassan Bannoura.