JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Obama administration expressed its "deep disappointment" in Israel’s plan to add 1,100 housing units in eastern Jerusalem.
"We are deeply disappointed by this morning’s announcement by the Government of Israel approving the construction of 1,001 housing units in East Jerusalem," Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, said Tuesday. "We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties, and we have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in Jerusalem."
Jerusalem’s district planning committee approved a construction plan to build the units in Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood of 40,000 in eastern Jerusalem. The plan also includes public buildings, a school and an industrial zone, Ynet reported. The public has 60 days to express opposition to the plan.
The committee had previously approved a motion to expand the neighborhood with additional housing. The plan allots 20 percent of the new housing for young couples..
The approval comes as the international community, including the United States and the Mideast Quartet, are attempting to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. The Palestinians have said they will not resume talks until Israel halts settlement construction, including in Jerusalem.
Gilo was annexed by Israel after being captured in 1967.