The Israeli Housing Ministry announced bids for the construction of 240 settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli paper, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported Friday that the bids are for units in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev settlements.

The paper stated that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, informed the U.S. administration of this move before announcing the bids.

The declaration was made to the U.S. during talks held between Netanyahu’s envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, and a number of American officials.

Ministers in the Netanyahu government stated that this move is also meant to weigh the reaction of the United States and other countries.

Furthermore, an organization heavily involved in settling Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, especially in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, stated that it intends to bring dozens of Jewish families to live in homes belonging to the Palestinians.

The organization claims that the homes in question were owned by Jews before 1948.

The Israeli government blames the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas for the failure in peace talks, and insists on constructing and expanding Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesperson of Hamas in Gaza, stated that the Israeli decision to build new settlement units in Jerusalem is a new proof that Israel is not seeking peace.

Abu Zuhri added that “The Israeli occupation is turning its back to the Arab counties”, and that while Arab countries are opening the doors for negotiations, “Israel is continuing its violations and crimes in the occupied territories”.