WASHINGTON The United States said on Monday it found reports of new Israeli settlement building plans deeply troubling and counterproductive to the U.S. effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Israel announced on Monday approval for building 277 homes in a West Bank settlement, despite U.S. and international pressure to curb expansion on occupied land and as Palestinians prepare for a statehood bid at the United Nations.
"We have seen reports of this approval for apartments in the West Bank. We consider it deeply troubling," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"These kinds of actions are counterproductive to the resumption of direct negotiations. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government. We will continue to make our position known."
U.S.-brokered peace talks have been frozen since the Palestinians walked out in September over Israeli settlement building.
"We remain committed to getting these parties back to the table," Nuland said. "What we need to do is end the cycle here of this movement going in the wrong direction and get folks back to the table and get positive steps on both sides toward that goal."
(Editing by Eric Beech)