The Housing Ministry and the Israel Lands Administration on Wednesday night issued tenders for 1,500 new homes in Judea and Samaria, and in Jerusalem. The tenders were issued as part of Israel's response to the establishment of the Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority government.
Of the homes, 223 will be built in Efrat, 484 in Beitar Ilit, 38 in Geva Binyamin (Adam), 76 in Ariel, 78 in Alfe Menashe, 210 in Givat Zeev, and 400 in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel said Wednesday night that he was “very gladdened by the appropriate Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terrorist government. It is the right and obligation of Israel to build in all parts of the Land of Israel, especially to lower the price of homes.
“I believe that these homes will be just the beginning” of a larger development effort in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Ariel added.
The announcement comes amid Israeli anger the Obama administration's decision to work with the Palestinian Authority's "unity government" consisting of the PLO and Hamas.
On a lightning visit to Israel's northern neighbor Lebanon on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the US decision.
He said it did not contradict longstanding US and European Union policy that bars all dealings with any "Palestinian government" involving Hamas until the Islamist movement renounces violence and recognizes Israel and past peace deals.
Kerry said Abbas had "made clear that this new technocratic government is committed to the principles of non-violence, negotiations, recognizing the State of Israel, acceptance of the previous agreements".
"Based on what we know now about the composition of this technocratic government, which has no minister affiliated to Hamas and is committed to the principles that I describe, we will work with it as we need to, as appropriate," the US top diplomat claimed.