The United States says it "regrets" Israel's plans to approve the
construction of new homes in the West Bank instead of agreeing to U.S.
calls for a construction freeze.
White House spokesman Robert
Gibbs released a statement Friday saying the U.S. does not accept the
"legitimacy" of Israel's continued construction in the region and will
urge Israel to stop. The statement released Friday says the expansion
is "inconsistent" with Israel's commitment to an Israel-Palestinian
Earlier, an Israeli aide to Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said the prime minister plans to approve the
construction of hundreds of new homes in the West Bank, before agreeing
to a U.S. demand for a freeze.
The aide, who asked not to be
identified, said Friday that Mr. Netanyahu would approve the new
construction in the next several days, and would then consider a
moratorium that would last a few months. Israel also said it would
finish some 2,500 other housing units currently under construction.
United States has said Israel's expansion of settlements in the West
Bank is hindering peace talks but Israel has said the new construction
is needed to accommodate population growth. Palestinians have said they
will not rejoin peace talks until the Israel stops its construction
The statement from Gibbs says the U.S. appreciates
Israel's stated intentions to limit settlement construction and will
continue to discuss the issue with Israel.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.