Rheem Manufacturing, a jewellery manufacturer based in Auckland, is to build apartments in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The company said it would operate in the areas under full Israeli military control, but would not be involved in the conflict.

It said it was “not in a position to comment on future Israeli actions” and had “nothing to add” to media reports.

It also said it had a “significant presence” in the West Bank, which it said was the largest and most populated area of Israel.

Rheeman Manufacturing is owned by Israeli jewellery tycoon and former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

The new project is part of a broader development plan that also includes the construction of more than 200 apartments in East Jerusalem, where the city’s population of some 4.5 million is estimated at almost 6 million.

The development plan was announced in a statement on the company’s website on Thursday, and it said the apartments would be built on an existing site “that will allow for more housing density and provide a further level of employment opportunities”.

The company’s development plan said it hoped to complete construction by March 2019, and would invest $100 million in the project.

It would operate on the land of a future settlement and “accommodate an anticipated increase in the population of the city”.

It said the project would not affect existing operations at the site.

“This will create new opportunities to expand Rheeme Manufacturing’s operations and expand the company to a larger and more diversified market,” it said.

“Rheem is committed to being a global leader in the jewellery industry and we intend to remain a leader in this industry.”

Construction of the apartments is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The announcement follows Israel’s announcement last week that it had accepted an offer to build more than 1,200 apartments in east Jerusalem.

It had already begun building settlements in the area, including an outpost in the Old City of Jerusalem, and is also building settlements further north.

Israel’s security cabinet approved the settlement expansion in a meeting last month, after the UN Security Council imposed new restrictions on the city of more 100,000 Palestinians.

It was Israel’s most significant action since the 1967 war.

Israel says it will not recognise the status quo in east Gaza, but the US has condemned the move.

The US says the plan will only deepen the conflict in the region and undermine the international effort to end it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the settlement project is a “bombshell” to the prospects of peace with the Palestinians, while US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US will continue to stand with Israel.

Mr Kerry also warned that the US would continue to push Israel to return to the negotiating table if it did not fulfil its obligations under the UN Charter.

“If the Israeli government continues to ignore its international obligations and refuses to return, the United States will continue working with our partners to bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East,” he said.

Israel has already demolished nearly 1,000 Palestinian homes and forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in the past five years, including many from Gaza.

The Israeli government says the move is necessary to prevent the construction and occupation of homes illegally built in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, which has a population of around 400,000, claims the West Jerusalem settlement is illegal and that it has the right to exist in the holy city.

The latest announcement comes after Mr Netanyahu announced plans for a further 400 homes to be built in settlements built on occupied land.