The Israeli Housing Ministry published Tuesday tenders for the construction of some 1,000 new housing units in West Bank settlements.
The tenders include 604 homes in Betar Ilit, 214 in Ariel, 141 in Ma’aleh Adumim, and 42 in Karnei Shomron.
Leaning to American pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered two weeks ago a re-examination of tenders to build 600 housing units in West Bank settlements, among them many of those issued Tuesday.
Labor party called Sharon to immediately revoke the issued tenders.
Labor MK Ophir Pines demanded that Sharon immediately revoke the tenders as a precondition for resuming coalition talks.
The Peace Now organization condemned the tenders.
‘The boss has gone mad. Sharon has decided to scoff at his government’s promise to freeze construction in settlements. Rather than disengagement, he is carrying out massive occupation in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].’ Said a statement issued by Peace Now.
The Americans were said to be surprised and asked Israel for explanations.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Paul Patin repeated the typical U.S. Administration statement, reminding Israel with its road map obligations.
‘ Israel has accepted the road map and all its stipulations and we expect it to abide by them,’ he said.
Government officials explained that the tenders were issued based on old plans, approved prior to may 2003.
Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an adviser to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, denounced the decision, repeating the typical PA call on the international community to intervene and pressure Israel to halt construction.