JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 675 new housing units were approved for the West Bank settlement of Itamar.
The construction plans were approved before January’s elections in Israel, but first reported on Wednesday by the Israeli news website Ynet.
Of the approved housing, 137 are existing apartments that were approved retroactively.
News of the approval, made by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who left politics after the elections, comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attempts to bring the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table.
The Palestinians have said they will not resume negotiations until there is a freeze on construction in the West Bank.