Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the Israeli decision to build 654 units in Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and 180 units in the West Bank.Presidency spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rodeina, told the Palestinian New & Info Agency, WAFA, that the Israeli decision is another blow to the efforts to resume the stalled peace talks.

Abu Rodeina added that the International Community and the Quartet Committee (The United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia) must practice pressure on the Israeli government to stop its provocations as they would only lead to further tension in the region.

He further stated that peace and settlements contradict each other and that if Israel wants peace, it must stop its violations in the occupied territories.

The Israeli Housing Ministry declared Wednesday new tenders for the construction of hundreds of new homes in Jabal Abu Ghneim “Har Homa” illegal settlement, south of occupied East Jerusalem, and Givat Ze’ev settlement in the West Bank. The new units were approved in August 2011 by Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai.