Israel approves nearly 1,000 settler homes in occupied West Bank
Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-apartheid activist, told Palestinian Authority's news agency WAFA that Israel announced its approval to construct 980 of new settlement units.
Brijiyeh cited Israeli sources and Israel's ministry of construction and housing.
The latest expansion will be implemented inconspicuously, he added, highlighting that vast areas of Palestinian agricultural land will be seized as part of this new settlement plan.
Read also: Interview with former Obama adviser: 'Formal annexation won't change anything on the ground
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.
Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.
Often, Israel forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permit.
Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".
Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of all Palestinian building permit applications across the occupied West Bank were approved by Israel, according to the UN.
The cost of a permit for a single home is estimated to be in the region of $30,000.