Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone ahead and authorized planning to advance 1,060 new settlement housing for Israelis in the West Bank.
660 homes will be constructed in Ramot Shlomo, the same place that brought US Israeli diplomatic ties to a low when Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.
The other 400 homes are to be built in Har Homa which is opposite Bethlehem.
Mr. Netanyahu also approved so called infrastructure projects in the West Bank as well.
Europe and the US sharply condemned the announcement earlier this month of more settlement housing to be built in a third area of the West Bank; Givat Hamatos.
Some analysts say Mr. Netanyahu is capitalizing on the postponed Cairo Peace Talks with the Palestinians, and that the Palestinians have told the Americans they will not go to the United Nations Security Council as planned to draw attention to Israel's actions against the peace process.
Others point to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's recent visit to Washington DC where his requests for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the National Security Adviser Susan Rice were turned down.
Netanyahu has been under pressure from extremist groups and the political right to take punitive steps in retaliation to the violence that has recently been experienced.
It also serves to draw attention away from the settler expansion in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, an almost entirely Muslim area.
Various officials in the Palestinian Authority have condemned the Israeli plans.
Some warned of the spread of violence, others pointed to the breaking of International law in Israel's announcements.
But many see that what these plans do is make it increasingly possible that a de facto one-state solution will ultimately come about.
Mr. Netanyahu has been long viewed, both in and out of Israel, as one who does not want to make peace – and these further steps will serve to only reinforce that view.
Middle East Correspondent