The foreign secretary, William Hague, has urged Israel to reconsider its plans to expand settlements on the West Bank over fears the move will undermine the peace process in the region.

The country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, only days after Palestine was awarded non-member observer status by the UN General Assembly and less than a fortnight after Israeli and Palestinian forces agreed to a renewed ceasefire after bitter conflict and civilian deaths in Gaza.

In a statement released on Saturday, Hague said he was "extremely concerned" by the plans, adding that: "Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and undermine trust between the parties."

"If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve."

palestine west bank

Hague's warning came only days after Palestine was further recognised by the UN

"They would undermine Israel’s international reputation and create doubts about its stated commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians," Hague's statement read.

"The UK strongly advises the Israeli Government to reverse this decision. The window for a two-state solution is closing, and we need urgent efforts by the parties and by the international community to achieve a return to negotiations, not actions which will make that harder."

Hague was joined by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in attempts to dissuade Israel from building the settlements.

Clinton, who is set to step down from her post after serving the Obama administration for four years, said the US "has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace".

Clinton made the remarks in ain Washington speech to an audience which included Avigdor Lieberman and Ehud Barak, Israel's foreign minister and defense ministers respectively.

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  • RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 29: Palestinians celebrate in the streets on November 29, 2012 in Ramallah, the West Bank. The U.N. General Assembly today voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state. Among nations voting no were the U.S., Israel and Canada. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

  • RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 29: Palestinians celebrate in the streets on November 29, 2012 in Ramallah, the West Bank. The U.N. General Assembly today voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state. Among nations voting no were the U.S., Israel and Canada. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

  • RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - NOVEMBER 29: Palestinians celebrate in the streets on November 29, 2012 in Ramallah, the West Bank. The U.N. General Assembly today voted 138-9, with 41 abstentions, to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state. Among nations voting no were the U.S., Israel and Canada. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian youth plays with fireworks while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks to the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, before the body votes on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a nonmember observer state, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state on Thursday but success could exact a high price: delaying an independent state of Palestine because of Israel's vehement opposition.(AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

  • A Palestinian Christian youth hangs up the national flag on a cross as others pray at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, also know as the Church of the Ten Lepers, in the West Bank village of Burqin near the town of Jenin, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Palestinians celebrated the U.N. General Assembly votes on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a nonmember observer state. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Filipino Jews carry placards as they march towards "Freedom Park" at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines, for a rally to express their solidarity with Israel in the quest for peace in the Middle East Friday Nov. 30, 2012. The "solidarity protest" was in response to the U.N. General Assembly voting to recognize the state of Palestine. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Palestinian Christians light candles next to portraits of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, left, and President Mahmoud Abbas, right, at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, also know as the Church of the Ten Lepers, in the West Bank village of Burqin near the town of Jenin, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Palestinians celebrated the U.N. General Assembly votes on a resolution to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to a nonmember observer state. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

  • Indonesian youths rally in support of Palestine outside the building housing the UN office in Jakarta on November 30, 2012. The protests came after the UN General Assembly on November 29 overwhelmingly voted to make Palestine a non-member state, inflicting a major diplomatic defeat on the US and Israel. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 29, 2012 after the General Assembly voted to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, giving a major diplomatic triumph to president Mahmud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 29, 2012 after the General Assembly voted to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, giving a major diplomatic triumph to president Mahmud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Palestinians watch on a giant screen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UN on November 29, 2012 in Ramallah. The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, giving a major diplomatic triumph to president Mahmud Abbas despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian man carrying his son on his shoulders wave his national flag as he celebrates in Gaza City early on November 30, 2012, after the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade them to a non-member state observer. The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, triggering scenes of joy on the streets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In a major defeat for the United States and Israel, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas won what he called a 'birth certificate' for a Palestinian state, with the backing of 138 countries in the 193 member assembly. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian celebrates in Gaza City early on November 30, 2012, after the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade them to a non-member state observer. The UN General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, triggering scenes of joy on the streets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In a major defeat for the United States and Israel, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas won what he called a 'birth certificate' for a Palestinian state, with the backing of 138 countries in the 193 member assembly. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)