Senior representatives of the U.S. State Department reported that U.S President Obama's special envoy in the Middle East, George Mitchell, who was supposed to go on an official visit to the region on Monday, postponed his trip, Reuters agency reported.
Officials in Washington added that Mitchell probably can directly go to Moscow to attend a meeting of the Middle East Quartet, including the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN.
Statements by U.S. officials were made after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to limit the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, which also applies to the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli government's decision to build additional 1,600 settlements for Jewish families, taken immediately after U.S. Deputy President Joe Biden's visit to Jerusalem, caused the heaviest crisis in relations between Israel and the United States for 35 years, urging to cancel the project, the Israeli press reported.
Jewish settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under the international law.
"The construction in Jerusalem will continue, as it was during the last 42 years (since the Arab-Israeli war of 1967)," leading news website "Why-no" cited Netanyahu, speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Likud Party.
He also hinted that Israel will resume construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, after a ten-month moratorium declared in November last year is completed, RIA Novosti reported.
The United States strongly condemned the Israeli decision to expand settlements in the block of Ramat Shlomo, which hampers the resumption of the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.
The Palestinian Authority rejected any negotiations with Israel, until the construction of settlements is not stopped.
Netanyahu supported the plan of other parties to build new settlements for Jewish families in Jerusalem, which is a part of Israel, adding that the peace agreement can be achieved even under such conditions.
The White House called the Israeli plans detrimental to the peace process and insulting to the United States. Although a few hours before the announcement of the Israelis' plans, Deputy President Biden praised the level of U.S-Israeli relations, emphasizing that there is no gap in these relations.
At present, about half a million of Jews live in over 100 settlements built by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after 1967, BBC Russian Service reported.