JERUSALEM — Israeli officials said Friday that the government would authorize construction of hundreds of new housing units in West Bank settlements in advance of a building freeze of six to nine months aimed at restarting peace talks with the Palestinians. The announcement prompted a sharp rebuke from the White House and the Palestinian leadership.
The plan was meant to satisfy the competing demands of two sides: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
Likud party, which wants settlement to continue unimpeded; and the
Obama administration, joined by the Palestinians and Arab world, who
say all building must be stopped. But instead, it drew rejections.