Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce Israel's plans for new housing tenders in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem next week, following the release of the third group of Palestinian prisoners, an official in Jerusalem said Wednesday.
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Netanyahu did not heed the United States' request to postpone the announcement of the new tenders and rejected warnings by the European Union which also urged Netanyahu to avoid announcing the new construction following the prisoner release.
The Palestinian prisoners are expected to be released on Sunday. By the end of the week, the ministerial committee that oversees the release of security prisoners is expected to meet and approve a list of the 26 prisoners that will be released. Following the approval, the list will be posted on the website of the Israel Prison Service to allow the public to submit petitions to the High Court of Justice against the release.
Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu's office lashed out at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, demanding that he condemn the recent string of terror attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israeli civilians over recent days.
"[The] terrorist attacks on Israelis in the last few days are a direct result of the incitement and hatred propagated in Palestinian schools and media," Netanyahu's spokesmen tweeted. "We are disappointed that so far President Abbas has not condemned these acts of terrorism as one would expect from a partner in peace talks."
In October, Israel announced tenders for the construction of hundreds of new homes which coincided with the release of the second group of Palestinian prisoners. The move was meant to blunt the expected right-wing protests against freeing the prisoners.