Israel Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has announced that he authorized the construction of 7,000 housing units in the city of Efrat in the West Bank.

“This morning I approved the construction of thousands of new housing units in Efrat in Gush Etzion,” Bennett tweeted, saying he instructed the defense establishment to continue to strengthen settlements. “Construction momentum should not be stopped for a moment on the land.”

Bennett’s authorization is one step of the housing bureaucracy in Israel. The authority to actually build now moves to the Housing Ministry, where plans for the new neighborhood need to be submitted and approved.

Bennett’s partner in the Yamina Party, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, tweeted her support, saying the Justice Ministry worked for a long time to prepare the legal basis for what she called “an important move with strategic implications.”

“This is an important step for Efrat and an important step in curbing Palestinian expansion in Area C,” Shaked said, referring to territory in the West Bank under full Israeli military control.