US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that the administration was trying to reach an agreement with Israel on settlements.
"The negotiations are intense. They are ongoing," she said in New Delhi.
Clinton was responding to statements made earlier by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other ministers that Israel had no intention of halting construction of a housing project intended for Jews in east Jerusalem.
Speaking during Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu and the ministers were themselves responding to the US demand made to ambassador Michael Oren that Israel put an end to construction work at the site of the historic Shepherd's Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.