Israeli anti-war group Peace Now warned today that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's settlement policies are clearly designed to stop the creation of a Palestinian state.
The group concluded that Mr Netanyahu's policies "disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
During Mr Netanyahu's (pictured) four-year term, 38 per cent of nearly 6,900 West Bank settlement apartments had reportedly started construction, compared with 20 per cent under his predecessors.
Settlers in some of the more remote settlements had built without approved plans or permits, but "with the tacit approval of the Netanyahu government," the group said.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev denied that the government is trying to undermine Palestinian statehood by settlement expansion.
Israel has "allowed construction in the Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem and in the settlement blocs, areas that will remain part of Israel in any future peace agreement," he argued.
Israel hasn't clearly defined "settlement blocs" but they are believed to include larger settlements near Israel as well the Ariel enclave of 17,000 settlers in the heart of the West Bank.
In all, about half a million Israelis live in dozens of settlements on occupied land, including nearly 200,000 in east Jerusalem and more than 300,000 in the West Bank.
Researcher Hagit Ofran said that Mr Netanyahu has gone further than his predecessors in many ways, establishing facts on the ground that "are lethal to the two-state solution."
In response to the Palestinians' successful UN recognition bid, Mr Netanyahu announced plans to build a new settlement with more than 3,400 apartments near Jerusalem, which will damage prospects of setting up a Palestinian state with contiguous territory.
Palestinians set up a protest tent camp recently in the area.
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