Israel expands settlements to rebuke Palestinians

Israel has condemned the new government backed by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that refuses to recognize Israel and is considered a terrorist organization by much of the West. While the government does not include any members of Hamas or other Palestinian partisan movements, Israel says such a distinction is irrelevant.

In a statement late Wednesday, Israel’s housing minister, Uri Ariel, published bids for the construction of nearly 1,500 housing units in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, calling them “an appropriate Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror government.” He said he believed this would be “just the beginning.” In addition, the authorities revived plans on Thursday for 1,800 more housing units.

The issuing of bids angered Israel’s allies, who have long been frustrated with the settlements. “We are deeply disappointed,” Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said. “As we have consistently said, these actions are unhelpful and counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome.”