Jeff Jacoby

ISRAEL'S RESPONSE to the renewed partnership between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas was admirably, and literally, constructive: It advanced plans to build 1,500 housing units in so-called Jewish "settlements" — i.e., burgeoning Jerusalem neighborhoods and several nearby West Bank communities. The Israeli housing minister, Uri Ariel, described the decision as "an appropriate Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror government." Hamas and its allies aim at uprooting the Jewish state; Israel's answer is to send those roots down a little deeper.

Anywhere else in the world, new housing construction to accommodate a growing population would be unobjectionable. But normal standards don't apply when it comes to the Middle East. Though the Obama administration decided it could support a Palestinian regime backed by Hamas, a notorious terror organization, it pronounced itself "deeply disappointed" by Israel's plans to construct the new apartments. For his part, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas warned that Palestinians would "respond in an unprecedented way to this step." Meaning what? Abbas didn't elaborate. But when the head of the PLO partners with the jihadists of Hamas, it's safe to assume that more violence is in the offing.

Indeed, Hamas issued a fresh call on Monday for "men of resistance in the West Bank" to kill Israeli soldiers and settlers. A few hours earlier, two Qassam rockets were fired from Gaza toward Ashkelon in southern Israel.

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for