The Israeli TV reported that Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, issued direct orders allowing Jewish settlers to build hundreds of units in colonies near the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Nablus.Israeli Channel 2 said that the Israeli Housing Ministry confirmed that Ehud Barak had personally signed the permits following the deadly stabbing attack that targeted Iramar illegal settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The attack took place in March this year leading to the death of a settler father, mother and three of their children, including an infant.

Barak, according to the report, wanted to please the settlers while the Israeli government kept the issue from the public in an attempt to avoid any “confrontation” with the White House.

But now, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will openly announce bids for the construction of hundreds of units on privately owned Palestinian lands in Bethlehem and Nablus.

The bids include 300 units in Beitar Ilit illegal settlement, south of Husan town west of Bethlehem, 40 units in Efrata illegal settlement, built on lands the belong to the residents of Al Khader town south of Bethlehem, and 46 units in Karne Shomron illegal settlement near Nablus.

Palestinian official, Dr. Nabil Shaath, told the Maan News Agency; “this decision is another sharp blow to the peace process”.

“It seems Israel does not believe it is sufficient just to build in large settlement blocs, already built on lands stolen from the Palestinians” he added, “but also wants to build illegal colonies in crowded Palestinian areas; such an ideology does not leave any chance for the peace process”.

Shaath further stated that Israel never stopped its settlement activities, and that the U.S. President, Barack Obama, was never able to oblige Israel to halt the constructions.