Yitzhak Herzog, the outgoing Israeli Housing Minister, and Labor party member, approved the construction of 310 housing units, in large settlement blocs in the West Bank.

This decision was taken in coordination of the newly elected leader of the Israeli Labor party, Amir Peretz.
Israeli online daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Tuesday, that an Israeli official at the ministry of housing said that this new bid was part of the ministry’s agenda for 2006, adding that the main reason behind submitting this plan is mainly for political considerations.
Sources in the Israeli Labor party stated that the decision to build in the West Bank was to attract more votes for the party from the Israeli right-wingers who were anxious by the latest statements of Amir Peretz on supporting Oslo Accords
Herzog, who is expected to tour in Maali Adumim settlement block, said on Tuesday, that there is no reason to stop the constructions in the suburbs of Maali Adumim, especially since the government approved the construction with vast majority.   
Notably, both the newly elected leader of the Labor Party, Peretz, and the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Sharon, have the same stand of expanding the settlement largest blocs in the West Ban including Maali Adumim.
The Israeli project to build four thousand units in E-1 area between East Jerusalem and Maaleeh Adumim was first approved by the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in 1995.
The plan aims to disconnect the central West Bank areas from the south, and isolates East Jerusalem from its surroundings.  
Israel froze the plan due to political pressures by the United States. The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said during her visit to the region, last week, that Israel should halt its settlements expansion in exchange of the disarmament of the Palestinian resistance groups.