On an official level, the Obama Administration is trying to play nice with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But a top American diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity to Israel's largest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, clarified that the White House still views the right-wing of Israeli politics as detrimental to its peace efforts.
Commenting on the approval this week of a mere 32 new apartments in the large eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev, the official said it was clear Netanyahu and his right-wing allies were trying to complicate US-brokered peace talks.
The very minor new construction in an area already heavily populated by Jews has also been condemned by European leaders, who insisted it would sink efforts to restart direct peace negotiations. Recent history has shown that the Palestinians will not hesitate to latch on to the international condemnation to do just that - sink all chances of renewed peace talks.
The US official went on to demonstrate how detached the Obama Administration is regarding Jerusalem. He expressed confidence that a solution would be found that "realizes the aspirations of all parties for Jerusalem."
However, the Palestinians insist that there will be no peace agreement until neighborhoods like Pisgat Ze'ev are emptied of Jews and every inch of the eastern side of the city, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, is surrendered. A firm majority of Israelis say that while they may be ready for the establishment of a Palestinian state, they do not support the re-division of Jerusalem under any circumstances.