Israeli settlements
Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the Palestinian West Bank with the Judean desert in the background. A draft bill to annex Maale Adumim, a settlement with some 37,000 residents in a strategic location east of Jerusalem, was expected to be discussed by ministers on 22 January 2017Thomas Coex/AFP

The United Nations has denounced Israel's plans to construct more settlements in the occupied West Bank.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric said: "For the secretary general there is no Plan B for the two-states solution.

"In this respect any unilateral decision that can be an obstacle to the two-state goal is of grave concern for the secretary general.

"There is a need for the two parties to engage in a bona fide negotiation to reach the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, two states for two people."

Israeli authorities on Tuesday, (24 January) announced the construction of 2,500 settler homes "in response to housing needs".

This is the second such announcement from the Israeli government since Trump took office on Friday.

Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement "Once again, the Israeli government has proved that it is more committed to land theft and colonialism than to the two-state solution and the requirements for peace and stability."

"Such a deliberate escalation of Israel's illegal settlement enterprise constitutes a war crime and the flagrant violation of international law and conventions, in particular UN Security Council resolution 2334," she added.

At least 140 settlements were built since Israel annexed East Jerusalem and West Bank during the 1967 war and an estimated 500,000 Jews reside in the settlements built on Palestinian land.

Under international law, the settlements are illegal but Israel disputes the fact. The newly approved settler homes will be built on the existing West Bank settlement blocs, that include 902 in Ariel and 652 in Givat Zeev.

In Beit El, which is a settlement near Ramallah, another hundred will be built. The settlement has allegedly received funds from a foundation run by Jared Kushner, according to Reuters. Kushner is Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.