Israel Says to Build Hundreds of Homes in West Bank Settlements

Posted July 18th, 2011 at 2:40 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The Israeli housing ministry said Monday it is inviting developers to bid for the construction of 336 housing units in two Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israel while it builds on land the Palestinians want for a state.

Instead, he has vowed to pursue full U.N. membership for an independent Palestine in September. Israel says settlements and the borders of a Palestinian state should be negotiated.

Meanwhile, an Israeli human rights group said Monday the military has detained and tried at least 835 Palestinian minors on charges of throwing stones at Israelis since 2005.

B'Tselem interviewed 50 of the minors and says some accused Israeli soldiers of taking them away in the middle of the night, treating them violently and threatening them during interrogations. It says the testimonies indicate “numerous serious violations” of their rights.

The Associated Press quotes Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich as saying 160 Israeli civilians and soldiers were wounded in attacks by Palestinian minors during the period. She also says the military handles suspected violent minors with sensitivity and believes they are being exploited.