Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks to journalists during his visit to the East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Gilo.

Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks to journalists during his visit to the East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Gilo.

Israel’s housing ministry has said it is advancing plans for 1,500 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the new Palestinian unity government backed by Hamas.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that the move was a “fitting Zionist response to the formation of a Palestinian terror government”.

He said the housing plans were “just the beginning”. The settlement units are in areas the Palestinians claim for their future state.

The Construction and Housing Ministry announced the new plans in one of several steps necessary before construction begins.

Israel has vowed to take punitive action in response to the Palestinian unity government formed last week because it is backed by the militant group Hamas.