Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Israel Releases 550 Palestinians

Israel has released 550 Palestinian prisoners in the second stage of a deal with Hamas that brought home one Israeli soldier after five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip.

Among those released Sunday were 55 minors, aged 14 to 17.

Israel released 477 Palestinians in October in exchange for Israeli army Sergeant Gilad Shalit who was captured in 2006 during a cross-border raid from Gaza into southern Israel.

The Israeli Prison Service says unlike the prisoners exchanged in October, none of the second group has been convicted of killing Israelis.

Also Sunday, the Israeli Housing Ministry began seeking contractors to build some 1,000 homes in the occupied West Bank.

The homes are part of a settlement plan announced earlier in the year. Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered construction to be sped up after the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO granted the Palestinians membership.

Israel opposes Palestinian efforts to join the U.N. in the absence of a negotiated peace deal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

Source: Global Security.org

1 comment:

George Patsourakos said...

Israel is going to have to accept the fact that Palestinians -- in addition to being accepted as members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) -- will also be accepted soon in other United Nations' organizations. Palestinians may soon also gain "observer status" in the UN.

The only reason Palestine did not gain full membership in the UN in October was because the United States -- Israel's chief ally -- vetoed Palestine's attempt to do so in the UN Security Council.

However, the vast majority of UN members overwhelmingly support Palestine's UN membership.