"Let me reiterate that this administration, like previous administrations, has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace," said Clinton. Her statements were an unusually blunt US condemnation of Israeli settlement-building.
One of the announced developments, E1, has long been condemned by the US. It would build settlements dividing the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem. The project would prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, the NYTimes reports. In addition, Israel announced they'd build 3000 new housing units in East Jerusalem.
Israel's announcement is widely seen as retaliation for Palestine's successful bid to become a non-member observer at the UN.
Israel's actions were earlier branded "counterproductive" by the White House and drew searing criticism from Europe. "If Israel confirms these decisions officially, then it is an exercise in the most cynical, self-obsessed and self destructive policy-making imaginable," one European diplomat told the Guardian.