FILE – Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel, center, speaks to journalists during ceremony marking resumption of construction in east Jerusalem.
Israel has announced plans to build about 1,500 more settlement homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the Palestinians’ formation of a unity government.
Israel’s housing ministry announced the new construction plans on Thursday. According to Israeli news reports, housing minister Uri Ariel said the move was an Israeli government response to the establishment of a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.
Israel and the United States consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
Palestinians oppose Israeli construction on land they want as part of a future state.
On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the new unity government between Hamas and Fatah, the two groups that have separately governed the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for years.
The installation followed an agreement the Palestinian sides had made in April that called for political cooperation.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would not negotiate with any Palestinian group that included Hamas. He called the group a terrorist organization that has called for the destruction of Israel.
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