Israel published tenders for 283 new housing units in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, just days after the largest appropriation of Palestinian land in three decades.
Israel on Sunday said it was expropriating 400 hectares of land near Bethlehem in the south of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israeli advocacy group Peace Now, which claimed the appropriation was the largest since the 1980s, said it expects Israel to use the land to expand housing units in a nearby settlement.
Palestinians and Israel’s allies, including the United States, criticized the move.
Most governments consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law and the expansion of the Jewish towns are a major sticking point in peace talks.
Last month, Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip agreed to a ceasefire after a conflict left more than 2,200 people dead, most of them Palestinian civilians.
Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, is demanding that reconstruction efforts – still being hampered by the blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory – also include the development of a port to improve trade access.
Israel is demanding that Hamas disarm before it would consider allowing the port.
“We will agree to disarm the resistance if the occupiers are also disarmed and leave our land,” said Hamas’ Gaza leader Ismail Haniye.
“We will not deal with any agreement, Arab or regional, that would touch the weapons of the resistance,” Haniye told a crowd at Friday prayers in Gaza, standing next to rubble.
Thousands of homes have been destroyed in Gaza, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless, according to the United Nations.