The White House slammed Israel Tuesday after the Jerusalem city council moved toward the construction of 900 additional housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
In criticizing the Israeli housing plan, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "We are dismayed," and he criticized the Israelis as making "it more difficult for our efforts to succeed."
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu's office quickly fired back that the Jerusalem neighborhood in question, Gilo, "is an integral part of Jerusalem. ... Building in Gilo has continued unabated for decades, and there is nothing new in the current planning and construction."
On their part, the Palestinians said the Israeli housing plan was a rejection of Obama's efforts. "This is a message to President Obama that Israel does not care about the American position," Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told The Associated Press. "There should be real American pressure on the Israelis to stop all these acts. Such acts prove that Israel does not want peace and does not want to revive the peace process, and it really puts the interests of the United States at stake."