October 1, 2014 / 8:34 PM / 3 years ago

U.S. cautions Israel about settlement plans in East Jerusalem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States expressed concern on Wednesday about reports that Israel had moved forward plans for settlements in East Jerusalem, warning the move would call into question Israel’s commitment to peace with the Palestinians.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington October 1, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the step would also send a “troubling message” if the Israeli government proceeded with tenders and construction.

“This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies, poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations,” Psaki told a briefing.

In addition, it would “call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement,” she added.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Peter Cooney

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