HAMAS BOOSTED Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on June 8 that rather than moderating Hamas, there are increasing signs the new Palestinian unity government that was sworn in June 2 is helping the Gaza-based Islamist organization gain strength in the West Bank. The new government came after Hamas, which is opposed to Israel’s existence, and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in April.

SETTLERS BOOSTED The government announced on June 5 plans to build some 3,000 more settler homes in the West Bank in response to the inauguration of the Palestinian unity government. Housing Minister Uri Ariel said he had issued notices inviting bids to construct 1,500 housing units. In addition, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered planning to proceed for a further 1,500 settler dwellings.

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