White House "deeply disappointed" by Israel's building decision
The White House on Wednesday said Israel's decision to speed up its building plans works against efforts to create peace in the Middle East, dpa reported.
"We are deeply disappointed by yesterday's announcement about accelerated housing construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank," Jay Carney, White House spokesman said.
He said that such "unilateral actions" undermine the push to resume direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and "do not advance the goal of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told parliament that Israel was building in Jerusalem by "right and obligation" and not as punishment.
That decision, coupled with Israel's decision to withhold the transfer of tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, was widely seen as a protest against the admission of the Palestinians to UNESCO on Monday.
At the US State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said both the Palestinians and Israel were engaging in "provocative action" with their moves.
She said such actions ran counter to the agreement in September among the so-called Middle East Quartet - the United Nations, Russia, United States and European Union - to seek to relaunch direct talks.