Israel demolished two apartment blocks on a West Bank settlement on Wednesday after a court ruled that they had been put up illegally on Palestinian-owned land.
Simultaneously however, the government approved the immediate building of 300 new homes at the same settlement near Ramallah.
That move was not enough to quell the anger of settlers who clashed with security forces at the Beit El site. Water cannon was used on the protesters and arrests and injuries were reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stressed that the new homes would be built in line with a pledge made years ago.
Approval was also granted on Wednesday for hundreds more dwellings in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.
Senior Palestine Liberation Organisation Hanan Ashrawi reacted to the developments by denouncing settlement building activities as “war crimes”.