Kerry urges Palestinians not to react adversely to Israeli settlement plan
BOGOTA, Distrito Capital de Bogota (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Palestinians "not to react adversely" to Israel's announcement of new settlement building, and stressed the importance of getting back to peace talks.
With a new peace dialogue in its fledgling moments after a three-year halt, the approval of almost 800 housing units in annexed east Jerusalem and around 400 elsewhere in the West Bank on Sunday infuriated Palestinians.
The plan was swiftly followed by Israel announcing that it would release 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners ahead of a resumption of peace talks on Wednesday in Jerusalem.
As some Israeli ministers criticised the government's prisoner release, Palestinians slammed the settlement plan, which Washington and the European Union said on Monday was illegal and detrimental to peace efforts.