JERUSALEM, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The Jerusalem Municipality on Wednesday said it is pushing forward the plan to construct 800 new settlement housing units in East Jerusalem.
A statement issued by the municipality said that its local planning committee would discuss in its next meetings the approval of building about 800 new homes in Pisgat Ze'ev, Neve Ya'akov, Ramot, and Gilo, all Jewish settlement neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
"The construction in Jerusalem is necessary, important, and will continue with full force," Nir Barkat, the city's mayor said in the statement.
The expected approval marks the largest planned surge over the past years in the expansion of the settlement in East Jerusalem, a territory Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed later.
Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watch group, said on Monday that Israel intends to construct about 1,000 new homes beyond the Green Line and within the Palestinian neighborhoods including Sheikh Jarrah.
The settlements are illegal under international law because they are built on lands occupied by Israel, where the Palestinians wish to establish their own state.
The former U.S. administration criticized Israel's continuous expansion of the settlements, which it considered as a major obstacle to peace.
As the pro-Israel U.S. President Donald Trump stepped into office, the current Israeli government largely suggested that all restrictions on the expansion of the settlements should be lifted.