JERUSALEM - Israel fired back on Friday at a senior US official, who blamed Jewish settlement construction in part for the breakdown of peacemaking with the Palestinians, saying he himself had done nothing to help the negotiations.
The blunt riposte signaled continued, deep tensions between Israel and Washington over the US-led talks, which collapsed last month amid bitter recriminations.
In his first public comments on the negotiations, US envoy Martin Indyk said on Thursday that neither side had had the stomach to make the necessary compromises, and singled out settlement building on occupied territory as a particular obstacle.
But a senior Israeli official familiar with the talks accused Indyk of hypocrisy, saying he had known construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem would continue during the discussions.
"Indyk comes and blames others without speaking about his own responsibility for the current impasse," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "(It is) difficult to point to any significant contribution that he (Indyk) had made to the process," he added.