Israel will build 1,500 new settlements
Israeli officials say the new settlements are in response to the newly formed Palestinian unity government. (AFP/File)
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The Israeli government has announced plans to construct 1,500 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Israeli media outlets on Thursday cited an announcement by the regime’s Housing Ministry regarding the release of new tenders for settler units in a number of Zionist settlements on Palestinian lands.
Israel claims the settlements are a response to the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
"I congratulate the decision to give a proper Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror cabinet," Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said, adding, “I believe these tenders are just the beginning."
Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law. However, Tel Aviv is expanding projects on occupied Palestinian territories, in defiance of international calls to halt the construction. Israeli settlements long predate the Palestinian unity government.
In April, Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to end years of rivalry and form a unity government. The new cabinet was sworn in before Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian national unity government, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday. The cabinet is led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and has 17 ministers including 5 from the Hamas movement.
The U.S. has announced its intention to work with the Palestinian unity government, prompting the Israeli government to express strong disappointment over the issue.
In April, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to end years of rivalry and form a unity government.
Hamdallah’s government is tasked with organizing parliamentary and presidential elections in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip by the end of the year.
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