Trump administration has cautioned against building new Israeli settlements, warning it “may not be helpful” to achieving peace with Palestinians.
The statement contrasted with earlier signals from President Donald Trump that he did not object to settlement activity.
But it said he did not see settlements as an “impediment to peace” – a departure from previous us positions.
Israel’s pro-settlement government, which had sharp differences with the Obama administration on the issue, has felt emboldened since Donald Trump took office last month.
In recent days, Israel has announced plans to build thousands of new settlement homes, in one of the biggest surges for years.
More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.