Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved permits on Monday to construct 455 new homes in the occupied West Bank settlements. A list of the first such approvals since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in March 2009 showed the homes would be constructed in areas Israel plans to keep in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
On Friday, Israeli officials announced that Netanyahu decided to give the nod for the new projects, drawing condemnation from the White House and the Palestinians.
On Sunday, the spokesman of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud Abbas said the latter called on Arab nantions during a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah to unite against Israeli plans to expand West Bank settlements. The Palestinian Authority president "called for a unified Arab stance in face of Israel," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP following the meeting late on Sunday.