Israel has demolished more than 3,200 illegal settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, marking a significant escalation of its campaign to stamp out settlement building.

The army said on Thursday it had destroyed dozens of illegal structures built on private Palestinian land in the occupied territories, in addition to destroying dozens of homes and businesses.

It said that in the past three weeks, an estimated 20 illegal structures had been demolished by Israeli forces in the area, including a handful of residences.

It noted that some structures were erected on privately owned land, but they were not large enough to constitute illegal construction.

Israel seized the West Banks from Jordan in 1967 and later annexed the Palestinian territories.

It is responsible for building and maintaining settlements in some of the occupied territory.

Israel has since annexed the West Wall and the eastern part of East Jerusalem, as well as parts of the Gaza Strip.

Since July 2014, Israeli forces have been cracking down on Palestinians in the Gaza strip and the West Jerusalem area.

They have killed thousands of Palestinians in a campaign that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

Palestinians living in the Jerusalem and the East Jerusalem areas of Israel face widespread restrictions, including limited access to water and electricity.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last month that called on Israel to end its military operations in the Palestinian areas, a move that was welcomed by Israeli officials.

The United States has also called for Israel to cease its operations.

Israel says the Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the territory and has vowed to prevent any such state.

Israel’s new offensive comes as US President Donald Trump is set to travel to Israel on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two leaders are due to sign a joint statement in the Israeli capital later this week.