Israel has announced plans to build 1,500 new homes in occupied East Jerusalem, the part of the city claimed by the Palestinians, just hours after it freed 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to set peace talks in motion.
Interior Ministry Spokeswoman, Lital Apter, said Israel also plans to build an archaeology and tourism site near the Old City, home to Jerusalem's most sensitive holy sites.
Israel first announced the development plans in 2010 during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, sparking a diplomatic rift with Washington that took months to mend.
The latest move is seen by some as an attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make up for the prisoner release, for which he has been sharply criticised within Israel.
The prisoners have been jailed on charges ranging from throwing rocks to killing Israelis in bombings and gun attacks. There are roughly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners lodged in Israeli jails.
Plans to build the homes in the city's Arab sector emerged in Israeli media almost immediately after Israel began freeing 21 prisoners to the West Bank and another five to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip overnight.
Israel has a long history of lopsided prisoner exchanges with its Palestinian counterpart. This week's release of 26 prisoners appeared especially charged because Israel seemed to be getting little in return except an opportunity to conduct negotiations.
And the madness continues. So much for that "peace process"