Israel announces plans ahead of peace talks, violence roils Iraq, and desperation grows among Myanmar’s Muslims. Today is Monday, August 12, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @clarerrrr.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat gestures during his interview with Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 11, 2013. Erekat said on Sunday Israel’s plans for new homes in Jewish settlements on occupied land were aimed to scupper peace talks that resume on Wednesday. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Plans portend peace talk problems. Palestinians’ enthusiasm over Israel’s decision to release 26 Palestinian prisoners was tempered by new plans to expand Israeli settlements:
The 26 prisoners are the first of a total of 104 Israel has decided in principle to free as part of an agreement reached after intensive shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew talks for Palestinian statehood. Israel sweetened the deal for far-right members of its governing coalition on Sunday by announcing plans to build 1,187 new dwellings for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and parts of the territory it annexed to Jerusalem after the 1967 Middle East war.
Disagreement over settlement construction brought peace talks to a halt three years ago, and few have hopes that this year’s talks will resolve long-standing tensions. However, the U.S. is pushing for a deal within nine months.