WASHINGTON – An Obama Administration official denied a recent BBC report according to which the US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli construction in east Jerusalem.
The official told Ynet on Tuesday, "There is no such initiative before the (Security) Council, and we are not pursuing or encouraging any such action."
Washington has yet to officially respond to the BBC report, which came during a period of heightened tensions between close allies Israel and the US over the construction in east Jerusalem.
The US State Department is expected to officially deny the BBC report soon.
The US, one of five permanent members of the Security Council with veto power, usually blocks Security Council resolutions that condemn Israel, but relations have been severely damaged since Israel announced the construction of 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.
The announcement, which made was during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the Jewish state, drew harsh criticism from the Obama Administration.
The Palestinians responded by pulling out of the US-brokered indirect "proximity talks" with Israel.
The US views Israeli building in east Jerusalem, the part of the city claimed by Palestinians as their future capital, as disruptive to Mideast peacemaking. Israel insists the city cannot be divided and says it has the right to build anywhere.
According to the American official, the US "believes that the best way forward lies in direct negotiations between the parties leading to a comprehensive peace agreement including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security."
He said that referring the issue to international bodies would only highlight the disagreements between the sides and lead to one-sided pressure on Israel.
However, the official added that the Obama Administration was determined to continue pressuring Israel and the Palestinians in order to prevent any unilateral measures that may delay the resumption of peace talks.
The White House is still awaiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to its demand that Israel freeze construction in east Jerusalem. Washington has called on the Palestinian Authority to stop inciting against Israel.