Israel will be announcing plans for new settlement construction next week, in conjunction with the release of a third group of Palestinian prisoners as part of peace negotiations, according to an official.(Ma’an) ‘The Israeli government will announce tenders for new construction in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem which will coincide with the release of a third group of Palestinian prisoners,’ the official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Israeli media has reported that the announcement will involve the construction of 1,400 houses total.

6-700 housing units are to built in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomi, with the remainder to be built in West Bank settlements.

Palestinian officials say that Israeli settlement plans destroy the peace process. The international community has also condemned past construction moves.

More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in direct defiance of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories, of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part, have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.