- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2014

The White House fired back at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday over his country’s settlement construction, saying Mr. Netanyahu’s criticism of the administration over the weekend “seemed to ignore our concerns.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “it did seem odd” for Mr. Netanyahu to criticize the administration’s rebuke of Israel as “against American values.”

“When it comes to American values, it’s American values that led to this country’s unwavering support of Israel,” Mr. Earnest said. “It’s American values that have led us to fund an Iron Dome system” to protect Israelis from rocket attacks by Islamist militants.

“It’s clear how American values dictate or at least guide our thinking” on support of Israel,” Mr. Earnest said.

Administration officials criticized Israel last week after a Jerusalem official gave approval for construction of a new housing development in east Jerusalem. The U.S. does not recognize Israel’s move and considers construction there to be illegitimate settlement activity.

The Obama administration warned Israel that the project would distance Israel from “even its closest allies” and raise doubts about its efforts to seek peace with Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu, in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” called the administration’s condemnation “baffling.”

“It’s against the American values. And it doesn’t bode well for peace,” he said. “The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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