Abbas Aide: Israel's Approval of West Bank Homes 'Unacceptable'

Cabinet approves construction of new settlement houses as a response to a deadly terror attack on a family of five in the settlement of Itamar.

Israel's decision to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in several West Bank settlements in wake of the Itamar terror attack is unacceptable, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the ministerial committee on settlement affairs decided in a nighttime meeting to approve the construction of 500 new West Bank houses, a move that came in response to a deadly attack on a family of five in the settlement of Itamar on Friday.

Nir Kafri

Speaking to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa on Sunday, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said the "Decision by the Israeli government to build hundreds of housing units is unacceptable and we oppose it."

Abu Rudaineh also told Wafa that the "atmosphere this decision creates isn't helpful, it creates problems, and peace needs courageous decisions."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak took part in the meeting on Saturday night.

During the discussion, several alternatives to further settlement building were discussed, such as starting a new settlement, or widening the settlement of Itamar but the end the decision, supported by Barak, was to continue construction in settlement blocs.

The Fogel family was killed Friday night when a suspected terrorist broke into their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar and stabbed them all to death.

The prime minister's office notified the White House on Saturday night of Israel's intention to approve new settlement construction. A government official said that this was a strategic decision to build in settlements that will remain in Israel's control in any possible peace agreement with the Palestinians.