Referring to the establishment earlier this week of a Palestinian unity government which includes Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist group, Ariel said the move was an “appropriate Zionist response to the Palestinian terror government.”
“The right and obligation of the state of Israel to build across the country in order to reduce the price of housing is not in question, and I believe that these tenders were just the beginning,” the Jewish Home party minister said in a statement.
Wednesday’s announcement ended what Israeli officials said had been a “silent freeze” on West Bank construction because of pressure from Washington. At a briefing with Times of Israel staffers last month, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said Israeli authorities recently imposed a “silent freeze” on planning for further settlement expansion. While construction work was taking place on already approved projects, no new developments were planned and no tenders and bids were being issued, Danon said at the time.