West Bank, ALRAY - "We're working at a pace unparalleled since 2000," Israeli defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday of settlement building.
According to Marriv website quoted Lieberman as saying, “since the beginning of 2017, more than 3000 housing units were built, and there are more than 7500 building schemes for additional settlements units.”
He pointed out that “much have been accomplished” in the supreme committee of building and planning sessions.
Israeli government officials have pledged a major boost in settlement home approvals this year, with US President Donald Trump so far much less critical of such plans than his predecessor Barack Obama.
Israeli officials say a total of around 12,000 housing units will be given various stages of approval this year, four times the amount in 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israel's history, and settlement advocates wield heavy influence in his ruling coalition.
Settlement building in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.
It is also seen as a major obstacle to peace as the settlements are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
Prominent members of Netanyahu's coalition openly oppose the idea of a Palestinian state and advocate annexing most of the West Bank.
Netanyahu recently said he plans no uprooting of settlements, blaming Palestinian "incitement" and attacks against Israelis, among other issues, for the lack of progress in peace efforts.
About 430,000 Israeli settlers live among 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since.