Senior members of US President Barack Obama's administration expressed frustration and anger to Ha'aretz over a new series of television commercial airing in the US that support Israel's outright claim to a unified Jerusalem.
The first commercial aired this week, and featured famed author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who told viewers that for him as a Jew, "Jerusalem is above politics." In the commercial, Wiesel goes on to point out that Jerusalem is mentioned more than 600 times in the Bible, but not a single time in the Koran.
It is widely believed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his blessing to the series of commercials.
A senior Obama Administration official told Ha'aretz that "these commercials are not a wise move."
Tensions between Netanyahu and Obama reached new heights last month when the American leader demanded that Israel stop building Jewish homes on the eastern side of Jerusalem. Obama termed the announcement of a new Jewish building project during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the Israeli capital an "insult," and used the incident as an excuse to ramp up pressure.
Thus far, Netanyahu has held his ground, and refused to order an official halt to Jewish construction in the city. However, there are reports that contractors are having a much more difficult time obtaining permits to start or continue Jewish housing projects in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.
In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America on Monday, Netanyahu insisted that his government would never accept the US-backed Palestinian demand that it halt Jewish construction in any part of Jerusalem.