Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday announced new plans to build close to 1,000 new settlements in the occupied West Bank -- a highly contentious issue that is expected to meet U.S. opposition once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Netanyahu's office said there will be about 800 new settlements built in the West Bank, which Israel claimed in 1967 -- including about 100 in an area where a woman was killed only last month by a Palestinian attacker.
Palestinians have long opposed Israel's claim to the territory in the West Bank and years of building new settlements there. The land is part of territory Palestinians claim for a future state.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has supported new Israeli settlements and annexation efforts in the West Bank, but the incoming Biden administration is expected to follow many Western allies in opposing the new construction.
"This is an irresponsible step," Yair Lapid, head of Israel's Yesh Atid Party, said, warning that the new settlements could create early tensions with the new U.S. leadership.
"The Biden administration has not yet taken office and the government is already leading us into an unnecessary confrontation," he said.
Gantz's defense ministry is expected to approve the settlement plans before Biden's inauguration next week.
Most of the international community considers the Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal.