US urges Israel to reconsider settlement plan

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at his daily press briefing on Monday December 3. (Photo: AP)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at his daily press briefing on Monday December 3. (Photo: AP)

The US State Department has called Israeli plans to build further settlements in East Jerusalem “especially damaging”, and the White House has urged Israel to “reconsider”.

Mark Toner, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Monday that the US “opposes all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in East Jerusalem, as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations, and risk prejudging the outcome of those negotiations.

“This includes building in the E-1 area as this area is particularly sensitive and construction there would be especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said: “We urge Israeli leaders to reconsider,” and called the plans “counterproductive”.

US condemnation of the move to begin planning and zoning 3,000 new homes beyond the Green Line follows strong criticism from British and European governments.

Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden have all already summoned their Israeli ambassadors to express their displeasure at Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement, which is being seen as a reaction to last week’s UN vote which handed the Palestinian Authority “non-member observer” status.

Last updated: 10:36am, December 4 2012