Israel to build 1,500 more homes in settlements: Reports
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
In a file picture taken on March 19, a bulldozer is seen next to a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa - known to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim - in Israeli annexed east Jerusalem. AFP PhotoIsraeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel has invited bids for 1,500 new homes in Jewish settlements in retaliation for a new Palestinian government backed by Hamas, reports said on June 5.
Of the new homes, 400 will be in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem with the rest elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, the online edition of Haaretz newspaper reported.
Ariel said it was "an appropriate Zionist response to the terrorist Palestinian government," the paper reported.
"Israel has the right and duty to build throughout the entire country," said the minister, who is a member of the far-right Jewish Home party which is fierce champion of the settlements and opposes a Palestinian state.
The announcement comes amid Israeli anger at its U.S. ally's decision to work with the new merged administration for the West Bank and Gaza formed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas with the support of Israeli foe Hamas.
On a lightning visit to Israel's northern neighbour Lebanon on June 4, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the U.S. decision.