Obama Slams Israel's New West Bank Settlement Plans

Saturday, 01 Dec 2012 12:53 PM

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New Israeli settlement plans are “counterproductive,” the State Department and White House said Friday, saying it would make negotiations with the Palestinians more difficult.

"We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland added, "We're going to be evenhanded in our concern about any actions that are provocative, any actions that make it harder to get these two parties back to the table."

Israel announced it is planning thousands of new homes on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Israeli media made it clear the announcement was meant to emphasize Israel rejection of Thursday’s United Nations decision to upgrade the Palestinians’ status in the world body, NBC News reports.

An Israeli official told NBC that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had authorized the construction of 3,000 housing units and ordered "preliminary zoning and planning work for thousands" more.

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