Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant along with Mayor of Ariel Eli Shaviro yesterday laid the cornerstone of new a settlement project comprising 839 settlement units in the illegal settlement, Arab48 reported.
The new project is expected to attract hundreds of young settler families to the second largest Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
According to Arab48, the project includes new malls, education facilities, parks and attraction sites serving the new illegal Jewish community.
Shapiro said that this settlement project came in response to the killing of an Israeli soldier and a settler near the illegal settlement, which is built on the occupied land of the Palestinian city of Salfit.
READ: 'I dream of a day when there are no settlements' – life in Hebron
However, the project was approved two years ago, according to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the area on Monday.
"Tomorrow, as the mayor of Ariel told me, we are beginning construction of some 840 housing units in a new neighborhood, a neighborhood that I approved two years ago," Haaretz reported Netanyahu saying.
Shapiro called for the Israeli political leadership to approve more settlement units in Ariel, reminding them that only one third of its planned area had been completed.
Expanding the settlement, Shapiro claimed, would stop discrimination against the settlers, stressing that it tells Palestinians that "settlement is here forever."
Meanwhile, Galant said that the Palestinians are not ready to recognise "our right to have a Jewish, Zionist, sovereign and democratic state."
About 20,000 Jewish settlers live in Ariel, the only settlement that includes a university. UN reports have indicated that the Jewish settlers' population increases by 20,000-25,000 a year.
Israeli settlement activity is illegal by international law.
Report: 449,805 Jewish settlers live in occupied West Bank