Secretary of State John Kerry will outline the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Middle East on Wednesday, as a vote on approving permits for the construction of hundreds of homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem was canceled.
Kerry will outline a vision for an Israel-Palestine peace agreement and “address some of the misleading critiques” directed at the Obama administration, the New York Times reported.
It comes after the Obama administration broke with long-standing U.S. tradition last week and abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians for an independent state.
The U.N. resolution was assailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, who vowed construction of settlements would continue.
Israel plans to approve new East Jerusalem settlements in defiance of U.N.
The U.S. called Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians a “flagrant violation” of international law. The United States has used its veto on the Security Council to block similar measures. About 600,000 Israeli settlers live on land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that both Israel and Palestinians claim rights to.
On Wednesday, a municipal committee in Jerusalem cancelled a vote on approving permits for the building of nearly 500 homes, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Planning and Housing Committee member Hanan Rubin said Netanyahu requested the vote be removed from the agenda in an effort to avoid further straining relations with the Obama administration ahead of Kerry’s speech, Reuters reported. Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment.
"The prime minister said that while he supports construction in Jerusalem, we don't have to inflame the situation any further," Rubin said, according to Reuters,
The committee could approve the construction permits at a later date.