Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said of Israel’s approval of 78 new homes in Jerusalem: “These decisions are a continuation of the Israeli government’s policy to cause more tension, push towards further escalation and waste any chance to create an atmosphere for calm.”

Israel on Wednesday approved the construction of 78 new homes in two Jerusalem neighborhoods over the Green Line, likely to aggravate Palestinian anger at a time when violence has flared, including a deadly attack on a synagogue.

Jerusalem’s municipal planning committee authorized 50 new housing units in Har Homa and 28 in Ramot, a municipal spokeswoman said. Israel describes those two urban settlements as Jerusalem neighborhoods.