The Defense Ministry's approval to build 112 housing units in Betar Illit is not a violation of the West Bank settlement moratorium, Washington said on Monday night, while urging both Israelis and Palestinians to nevertheless exercise caution ahead of the upcoming US-mediated peace talks.
"On the one hand, it does not violate the moratorium that the Israelis previously announced," US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "On the other hand, this is a the kind of thing that both sides need to be cautious of as we move ahead with these parallel talks."
Crowley said Israeli officials had explained that the construction was approved before the moratorium.