In spite of a statement by US officials on Friday, expressing disappointment in Israel’s decision to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, construction on existing settlements and new ones resumed with a massive building spree. The resumed and new buillding include several settlements near Jenin. The Jenin-area settlements are particularly controversial due to their proximity to Palestinian cities and towns deep inside the West Bank, areas which, by agreement, under the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, are supposed to be under complete Palestinian control.

The Shaqed settlement, which is constructed on Palestinian land stolen from the village of Ya’bad, began a huge expansion on Saturday, bulldozing Palestinian fields and olive groves in preparation for the new construction.

Local witnesses report that construction has also begun in nearby settlements including Shaqed, Rehan, Hinnanit, Mevo Dotan. and Hermesh. Together, these settlements form a circle around the Palestinian village of Ya’bad. The settlements are being constructed on Palestinian land.

Although the Palestinians in the area point out that the Jenin-area expansions are particularly egregious, the violations are taking place all over the Palestinian areas since US-brokered negotiations broke down two weeks ago.

All Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, and have been condemned by multiple United Nations resolutions.