Israel plans 15,000 new settlement homes in Jerusalem
Yoav Galant told Israel Radio that the ministry has been working with the Jerusalem municipality for two years on the proposal, which includes 15,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law, Reuters reported.
The move, not yet officially announced, will come as a blow to US President Donald Trump, who in February urged Israel to "hold back on settlements" during a presser with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel's Channel 2 news said the Israeli government may announce the plans on Jerusalem Day on May 24, when Israel celebrates the capture and "unification" of Jerusalem.
This year marks the 50th year of Israel's occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.
Saeb Erekat, the PLO's chief negotiator, condemned the plans, saying they were aimed at "burying the two-state solution" and a "deliberate sabotage" of efforts to restart peace talks.
"We strongly condemn the insistence of Netanyahu's government to continue imposing its colonial enterprise throughout occupied Palestine," he said in a statement.
"All Settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal under international law. Palestine will continue to resort to International bodies to hold Israel, the occupation power, accountable for its grave violations of International law throughout Occupied Palestine."
In March, Israel's Cabinet approved the first officially sanctioned new settlement in the occupied West Bank in over 25 years, causing international outrage.
There are around 100 unauthorised settler outposts in the occupied West Bank, in addition to more than 140 Israeli government approved settlements housing around 400,000 Jewish settlers.
Settlements have grown for decades under every Israeli government, but the settler movement is particularly powerful in the current right-wing coalition led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.
In 2010, Israel announced its intent to build homes in East Jerusalem during a visit by then-US Vice President Joe Biden.