Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday approved the construction of 7,000 settlement units in the occupied West Bank.

The new units will be built in Efrat settlement in the Gush Etziion bloc in the southern West Bank, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.

The Israeli government has stepped up settlement building in the occupied territory in recent months, ahead of a plan to annex parts of the West Bank as of July under the US plan known as “deal of the century”.

International law continues to view the entire West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as an “occupied territory” and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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