Israel has approved building some 2200 units in dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The approvals came less than a month after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel, which claimed in return it will freeze its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Observers say a pressure campaign on Israeli prime minister has forced him to take these decisions after over eight months of inaction which created what Israelis say a de facto building freeze in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu is seeking to calm down settler leaders who have expressed their frustration with the normalization deals.
According to anti-settlement groups, the advancement of these settler units will be the largest over the past decade. Under international law, settlements are considered illegal.
Palestinians say the resumption of settlement activity at this time is not only a slap in the face of UAE and Bahrain, but it is also a challenge and a flagrant violation of UN resolutions that will destroy any hope for the so-called two-state solution.