Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian lands (file photo)
A major Israeli TV broadcaster has announced that recent freeing of Palestinian prisoners is intended by the Tel Aviv regime as a bargaining tool for building more settlements in occupied territories.
"Building in the territories in exchange for freeing prisoners is the equation created by the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu since the negotiations began," Israel's channel 2 stated in a recent report, according to Palestinian news sources.
Since the beginning of the negotiations, the Israeli government has pushed the construction of 8,056 housing units in the occupied territories, the channel said.
The Israeli TV broadcaster further claimed that the building of these housing units has still not started, but it affirmed that an aerial tour of the West Bank reveals the actual construction of thousands of housing units already.
"The largest amount of construction is reported to be in Bracha, close to Nablus. Not far away, in Yitzhar, another construction project appears to be in the works these days. A similar picture emerges in the landscape of Nehemiah. The building boom did not skip over Ariel either," the report further stated.
"So how many housing units are being built these days in the territories? According to estimates by settlers, about 1,400 housing units are being built in the territories. The Israel central bureau of statistics states about 2,500 housing units are being constructed, while if you ask Peace Now, the number is about 3,000."
"Netanyahu is exploiting the negotiations and the release of prisoners in order to build and certify thousands of housing units," the channel quoted Lior Amichai of Peace Now groups as saying.
It also quoted Yigal Dilmoni, Yesha council head, as saying that the release of Palestinian prisoners "is designed to satisfy their desire for negotiations, the Palestinians and some elements of the government."