The United States on Tuesday expressed "deep disappointment" over Israel's approval of thousands of new east Jerusalem apartments.
"We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action. These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"Israel's leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.
"So we again call on Israel, and the Palestinians, to cease any kinds of counterproductive, unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations," Nuland said.