Two previous rounds of prisoner releases in August and October have been accompanied by Israeli announcements of fresh construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state, provoking Palestinian ire.
The Palestinians said that all of the UN Security Council members except the United States will condemn Israel`s recent announcements of new settlement construction which are making a two-state solution more difficult to achieve.
US has said it was disappointed by Israel`s refusal to extend a slowdown in settlement construction and dispatched special Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell to the region in an urgent bid to salvage the stalled negotiations.
Welcoming the United States brokered direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday asked Israel to extend a settlement freeze in West Bank to facilitate the negotiations.
Israel`s hawkish Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vowed to build settlements across
Jerusalem in defiance of a key demand from its close ally US
to freeze constructions in the eastern part of the city.