JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel on Monday gave the go-ahead to build hundreds of new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, defying warnings that the move jeopardises any resumption of Middle East peace talks. Defence Minister Ehud Barak authorised the construction of 455 units, most of them in the large settlement blocs that Israel has said it wants to keep in the event of a final peace agreement. Israels decision nullifies any effect that a settlement freeze, when and if announced, will have, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement. It further undermines faith in the peace process, and the belief that Israel is a credible partner for peace. When Israel last week announced its intention to approve a spurt of settlement building before considering a halt demanded by the United States, Washington and Europe also warned against the move. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas blasted the plans as unacceptable. He warned that if Israel goes ahead there will be no point in his holding a three-way meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month. We will not go back to the negotiating table before a halt to the settlement building, Abbass spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP on Monday in Saudi Arabia. The Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now group said in a statement that these building approvals transform any peace process into a political farce. The settlers are receiving ... a significant gift from the government of Israel in the form of settlements extending tens of kilometres (miles) deep into the West Bank, it said. But settler representatives blasted Mondays authorisation as not enough. Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha settler umbrella organisation, said a few hundred new homes was catastrophic. Its a freeze. The Americans dont run this country, Israelis do, said Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, a junior member of the coalition. Even if they want a freeze, we will not give it to them. Amid media speculation that some Arab states may answer Obamas call and agree to normalisation steps, such as issuing visas or overflight rights, Abbas on Monday called for a unified Arab stance in face of Israel. The increased settlement building is part of Netanyahus efforts to appease the hawks in his right-wing Likud party who virulently oppose any freeze, Israeli analysts say. Any moratorium on construction would exclude some 2,500 homes already being built in the West Bank, as well as any building in annexed east Jerusalem. Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem together home to some half a million Israelis are considered illegal by the international community and one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old Middle East conflict. Israel and the Palestinians revived peace talks in November 2007 after a near seven-year lull, but the negotiations made little progress before being suspended in late December over Israels war on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.