Israel announced Thursday the construction of nearly 1,500 housing units in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a possible 1,800 to follow. The new settlement expansion is a direct retaliation to the new PA government which ends the seven-year feud between Fatah and Hamas. Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel called the construction “an appropriate Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror government.”
Upon swearing in the new government this week, President Mahmoud Abbas promised to recognize Israel, reject terror and honor agreements. But Israel has asked the world to shun the new government due to its inclusion of the terrorist group Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel. Israel strongly criticized the U.S.’s announcement this week that it would continue to work with the Palestinian government and provide aid. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “deeply troubled” by the U.S.’s position. Nevertheless, so far Russia, China, India, Turkey, France and the U.K. have also voiced support.