TEL AVIV, Israel — The United States took Israel to task Saturday for a planned expansion of Jewish homes in the portion of Jerusalem that Palestinians claim for the capital of a future state.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that such moves undermine the U.S.-backed peace talks.
Rice, while making what has become nearly a monthly trip to assess the negotiations, said Israeli housing expansions are a recurring problem. She said she will discuss the latest announcement of 1,300 new homes in East Jerusalem with every Israeli official she sees.
An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Abbas will insist that Rice pressure Israel to stop the construction.
Israel has committed to halt all settlement activity, but insists it has the right to build housing for Jews in East Jerusalem because it annexed that sector of the city it captured 1967.
Since the renewal of the peace talks late last year, Israel has approved more than 3,000 homes for construction on land that Palestinians claim.
"We firmly condemn this project, which reveals the Israeli government's intention to destroy peace," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.