JERUSALEM, June 5 (UPI) -- Israel announced plans to build 1,460 new homes in the occupied West Bank as a response to the new Palestinian unity government.
Approximately 500,000 Jewish people live in over 100 settlements in the West Bank. The settlements are considered illegal under international law.
Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said the plans for new housing are an "appropriate Zionist response to the Palestinian terror government," a reference to the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas in maintaining the Palestinian Territories government. Ariel added it was "just the beginning.
Israel regards Hamas as a terrorist organization, as does the United States, and has insisted it will not work with the Hamas-backed Palestinian government.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization said it regarded the tenders to build new homes in the West Bank "a grave violation," and PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said it would appeal the decision to the United Nations.
The tenders, announced later Wednesday, call for 900 housing units to be built in the West Bank and 560 in east Jerusalem.
Israeli justice Minister Tzipi Livni called the announcement of tenders a mistake, saying it would "only distance us from the ability to recruit the world against Hamas."