In an interview on Israel Radio, Yishai apologized "for the distress this matter caused," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
"If I'd have known, I would have postponed the authorization by a week or two since we had no intention of provoking anyone," Yishai said. "It is definitely unpleasant that this happened during Biden's visit."
Yishai said he did not plan to reverse approval of the housing plan, approved by Jerusalem District Planning Committee, which is jointly run by the Interior Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality where the homes would be built north of downtown Jerusalem.
Biden said the decision to build the East Jerusalem housing would jeopardize efforts to get a new round of Israeli-Palestinian talks going.