The Israeli government approved the construction of additional 227 units for Jewish settlers in Ariel illegal settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.Israeli daily, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported Monday that the government approved the construction by the end of last week, and that the plan includes 100 units for settlers who were evacuated from the Nitzarim former settlement, in the Gaza Strip when Israel evacuated all settlements in the Gaza Strip under the disengagement plan in 2005.

The Ariel illegal settlement is considered the biggest settlement in the occupied West Bank; it also contains a university and an industrial zone.

Last week, Israel announced a plan to construct additional 1600 units in the Ramat Shlomo illegal settlement, in occupied East Jerusalem.

European Union higher representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, strongly denounced the Israeli plan, and said that the construction and expansion of settlements jeopardizes the efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, expressed concern regarding the new Israel plan, and stated that the plan was also strongly denounced in March this year when it was still in the initial planning phase.

Serry stated that the UN is concerned regarding the Israeli government’s decision to build more settlements in East Jerusalem, including the 1600 units in Ramat Shlomo.

The UN envoy further stated that that “the new provocative plan is a threat to all efforts meant to ensure the resumption of peace talks”.