Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim will approve next week the construction of hundreds of homes in West Bank settlements, Shas leader Eli Yishai said Wednesday, adding new tensions to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The announcement by came hours before US President George W. Bush was due to arrive in Israel - in part to prod Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a peace deal. A spokesman for Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim denied the announcement, but did not rule out construction in the Betar Illit settlement at a later date. Yishai told Israel Radio that construction would be allowed in the Betar Illit settlement near Jerusalem. "I am happy that ... they will approve the construction," Yishai said. He did not dispute the radio station's account that Olmert himself had pledged to allow the construction of hundreds of apartments to proceed.