Israel has begun building 100 new housing units in the Har Gilo settlement outside Jerusalem, political sources said Monday.

They said construction of the new housing at Har Gilo, which currently has some 120 families, began earlier this month and is due to be completed by the end of the year.

No New Building Tenders in Settlements

A senior Israeli governmental source said Sunday that Israel will not issue any new tenders for home construction in the settlements.

Last week the Housing Ministry published tenders for the construction of 1,000 housing units in Betar Illit, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and Karnei Shomron settlements.

New York Times reported that the U.S. Administration changed stance and is considering supporting construction in developed areas in West Bank settlements.

Harsh criticisms were voiced by Palestinians, Arab leaders, and Israeli left parties.

Commentators believe that the government declaration to freeze tenders was meant to help the U.S. administration to encounter such criticisms.

Likud hardliners claimed credit for the reported U.S. administration new stand, saying that the more they press against the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the more support he receives from the U.S.

Palestinians are worried that as 1000 more houses will be built in West Bank settlements, Israel would repeat the same scenario periodically.