The Israeli government has approved 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank according to the BBC. But the questions to ask are, why are the settlements being built and what are the consequences of such actions?

Understanding the settlements

First of all, let us provide some context. Israeli settlements are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens. They have predominantly been built in what the international community call the 'Palestinian territories'. The problem is that the international community considers the settlements in the occupied territories to be illegal.

the United Nations has repeatedly stated that Israel's construction of settlements to be in violation of the 'Fourth Geneva Convention'.

Why are the Israeli government building the settlements?

There seems to be a few key reasons. One was that many within Israel believe that the West Bank (and Gaza) is part of the "historic Land of Israel" and should be "restored to the Jewish people" according to the Jewish Virtual Library website. In a BBC report in 2003, forty percent of Israeli's living in occupied territories said that they did so out of a belief in a "divinely ordained mission to inhabit the land". Furthermore, a sign hanging in north of Jerusalem stated "only the Bible is the roadmap of the Jewish people".

The situation becomes even more complicated by the fact that within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government, there are right wing religious parties who support settlement building in the West Bank.

What are the consequences of the building?

One key knock-on effect has been immense criticism throughout the world to Israel's actions.

The UNSC resolution, condemning the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, reflects a "broad international consensus" that the settlement policy constitutes "an obstacle to peace in the Middle East", according to the Sputnik website. There has even been criticism from staunch ally the United States. The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from vetoing a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements was widely regarded within Israel as a stab in the back and just a parting shot to Netanyahu.

I truly believe that Israel needs to stop with the settlement building. It is only making more enemies for the Jewish state and is really not that necessary. There is plenty of space within Israel for the settlers to live. I understand their connections to the land in the West Bank but it is harming Israel, at home and abroad. It also increases the chance of attacks within Israel and amongst the Jewish people around the world.