The so-called "Israel Lands Administration" - at the behest of Housing Minister Ze'ev Elkin - offered tenders to build about 1,300 new settlement units in different areas in the West Bank, and the decision was condemned by the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
The tenders include building 729 units in Ariel settlement, south of Nablus, 346 in Beit El settlement, east of Ramallah, and 100 in Elkana settlement, southwest of Nablus, and in other settlements.
This is the first approval for building new settlement units during the era of Naftali Bennett's government.
The High Settlement Council had announced that it would meet this week to ratify the construction of more than 3,000 new settlement units, in addition to 1,300 housing units for Palestinians, in several rural areas in Area C in the West Bank.
Minister Elkin - from the right-wing "New Hope" party - said that "strengthening the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria (the biblical name for the West Bank) is fundamental to the Zionist vision."
For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh affirmed that the settlement programs "place the world, especially the United States, with great responsibilities to confront and challenge the fait accompli that is systematically imposed by 'Israel'."
Shtayyeh said, "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will chair an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership to discuss these developments and launch an international Palestinian campaign to curb this 'Israeli' aggression."
For its part, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs warned - today, Sunday - against "building new settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories."
The official spokesman for the ministry, Ambassador Haitham Abu Al-Ful, affirmed that "moving forward with the approval of the implementation of a plan to build 3,000 new settlement units is a rejected and condemned step that represents a violation of international law and relevant Security Council resolutions."
In turn, the "Israeli" anti-settlement organization "Peace Now" described Naftali Bennett's government as an "extreme right-wing government" and not a "government of change".
The organization considered that the government's talk about commitment to the status quo was "hollow talk... It is clear that this government continues the policy of annexation pursued by (Benjamin) Netanyahu."
The organization called on "the Labor and Meretz parties to wake up and demand an immediate halt to the brutal construction in the settlements."
Source: Al-Jazeera Net