JERUSALEM -- Capping one of the busiest periods in settlement approval in years, Israel gave final planning permission to build about 900 more units of housing on land it seized in 1967, brushing aside U.S. and Palestinian objections ahead of peace talks scheduled to resume in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The development, quietly approved Monday, is located in Gilo, in the southern Jerusalem area.
The construction announcements have infuriated Palestinians, who accuse Israel of sabotaging U.S. attempts to revive long-stalled peace talks.
"This settlement expansion is unprecedented," a senior Palestinian official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, told Agence France-Presse news service Tuesday. "It threatens to make talks fail even before they've started."
Although Israel argues it has a right to build on land it regards as part of its capital, the majority of the international community view Gilo as an illegal settlement.
U.S. Secretary of State
Israel's recent construction announcements underscore the importance of "getting to the [negotiating] table quickly," Kerry said.
In Israel, some describe the construction frenzy as part of a deal made between Prime Minister
But the left-leaning Haaretz daily blasted what it called a "targeted assassination" of the talks and urged the government to overcome the urge to aggressively expand settlements whenever peace talks come around.