US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed Tuesday that he and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were fully aware that the Israeli government intended to continue building in parts of Judea and Samaria which "will not affect the peace map" when the decision was made to restart talks.
As such, despite the "outcry" by the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is still committed to talks with Israel over the next nine months, he said.
At a press conference in Brazil, Kerry declared that "the policy of the United States with respect to all settlements, is that they are illegitimate."
"But, that said, (Israeli) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was completely up front with me and with president Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement," he continued.
Kerry also stressed the "urgency to get into the discussion of borders and security".
In Colombia on Monday, the US chief diplomat urged the Palestinian Authority "not to react adversely" to the Israeli announcement and stressed the need to return to the negotiating table.
With a fresh peace dialogue in its early stages after a three-year hiatus, the approval of almost 1,200 housing units in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria has triggered angry condemnations from the PA.
However, as noted in a previous Arutz Sheva report, much of the allegedly "new" construction projects were actually commissioned back in 2012.
That fact, coupled with the fact that the PA was apparently aware of the upcoming announcements in advance - and had nevertheless agreed to resume negotiations - suggests a choreographed response to events which really have little if no impact on talks.
Meanwhile, ongoing Palestinian Authority incitement, anti-Semitism and attacks on the very legitimacy of the State of Israel continue regardless of negotiations - to a chorus of deafening silence from the international community.