A spokesman for US President Barack Obama on Monday reiterated that his boss views the construction of new Jewish homes on the eastern side of Jerusalem as equally unacceptable as any so-called "settlement activity" anywhere else in Judea and Samaria.
During the press briefing, a reporter asked White House Spokesman Ian Kelly for an official response to the passing of an Israeli budget that includes tens of millions of dollars for the completion of infrastructure in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and the nearby Judean town of Maaleh Adumim.
When Kelly tried to sidestep the question, the reporter persisted, asking if the administration's demand for a halt to the natural growth of Jewish communities in areas claimed by the Palestinians extended to Jerusalem.
Kelly's reply was yes, the Obama administration wants to see a halt to "all settlement activity...in the area across the [green] line," which includes the eastern half of Jerusalem liberated by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak further defied Obama's demands by authorizing the construction of an additional 300 homes in the Samarian Jewish town of Talmon.
Israeli leaders across the board have said they cannot simply halt the normal flow of life in established Jewish towns, including natural growth. Many Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria have experienced explosive growth over the past decade due to the high quality of life and low housing costs they offer.
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