The White House on Friday cautioned Israel on large-scale settlement building, refraining from criticism of a major project just approved but warning further expansion could block peace efforts.

"While the existence of settlements is not in itself an impediment to peace, further unrestrained settlement activity does not help advance peace," a White House official said.

The Israeli cabinet gave unanimous backing late Thursday to the first officially sanctioned new settlement in the occupied West Bank in more than 20 years.

The White House official said that settlement, at Amona, was in the pipeline during Barack Obama's administration, and refrained from criticizing the decision.

"We would note that the Israeli prime minister made a commitment to the Amona settlers prior to President Trump laying out his expectations, and has consistently indicated that he intended to move forward with this plan," the official said.

"Going forward... the Israeli government has made clear that Israel's intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes President Trump's concerns into consideration."