September 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Hours after the angered Palestinian response to Israel's plans to authorize the construction of hundreds of new housing units in the West Bank before implementing a settlement freeze it became apparent that the plans were not necessarily approved by the United States.

Kurt Hoyer, spokesman for the US embassy in Tel Aviv, said Friday Washington would be unlikely to accept anything "contrary to the spirit of negotiations they've been undertaking" and added it was "doubtful" the US had signed off on the Israeli decision.

Nonetheless, the White House and the State Department were yet to offer an official response to the report.

Earlier Friday, an aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The prime minister plans to approve the construction of hundreds of news housing units in Judea and Samaria, before the freeze."

Top Jerusalem sources also stressed that Israel would continue the construction of some 2,500 housing units in the West Bank that is already underway.

In response to the report, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the planned Israeli move is "unacceptable".

"I think the only thing that will be suspended by this announcement is the peace process," Erekat said.

Prior to Friday's report, Netanyahu tried to send a calming message to top right-wing officials, and said they would be "pleasantly surprised" by the agreements to be reached with the Americans.

The message came following talks with right-wing politicians on Thursday, in which they conveyed their concern over a broad settlement freeze.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017