White House 'Disappointed' at Unilateral Moves
The White House said Wednesday it was disappointed by "unhelpful" actions by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority that threaten to tear apart a US-led peace effort.
Secretary of State John Kerry's bid to save peace talks is in peril after the PA took steps towards seeking international recognition, in violation of previous treaties, as well as the terms of the current talks.
But White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest expressed disappointment at "unhelpful, unilateral actions both parties have taken in recent days," possibly also referring to Israel's decision to reissue tenders for just over 700 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. A building freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem was not among the preconditions to talks, but both the PA and the US administration have nevertheless criticized Israeli building plans in the past.
Earnest added that "tit for tat" actions were counterproductive but that despite ominous signs, the US administration still believed diplomacy had a chance.
"There is a path for us to diplomatically find a way for there to be a safe, secure Jewish state of Israel existing alongside an independent, secure Palestinian state as well," he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Most media coverage in the United States has focused on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's decision to sign 15 treaties as a step towards seeking membership in UN agencies and conventions.
The PA has long threatened to launch a unilateral "diplomatic offensive" if Israel did not accept demands for a complete freeze in construction for Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria, as well as further mass-releases of convicted terrorists.