Israel on Tuesday announced plans to build thousands more homes in a new settlement near Bethlehem in the occupied West, in a move that could increase tensions with the Palestinians and draw fresh international criticism.
The announcement came after the Palestinians announced plans for a day of mass protests in Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank.
In a statement, the Israeli army said the settlement would be built in the settlement of Beit Shemesh and the Israeli-administered area of Pisgat Ze’ev.
The new settlements will be the second in the West to be built within the Israeli settlements of Pisgah and Kiryat Arba.
In May, Israel approved the construction of 1,200 new housing units in Pisgat Neve, the first in the area.
The Palestinian Authority has long complained of housing shortages and has called for the construction to take place in the OPT, where the Palestinians seek a state.
Israel’s decision to build new housing in Pisgagh came amid a worsening Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with the latest deadly attack on a Jerusalem bus that left four Israelis dead.
On Sunday, an Israeli soldier was killed in a Palestinian shooting attack, in the latest violence between the two sides in the wake of a Palestinian killing of an Israeli settler.
A separate Israeli attack in the city of Hebron killed three Palestinians.