WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Washington views Israeli settlement activity as counterproductive but that doesn't change its position on the Middle East peace process, a spokeswoman said.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said Washington was "deeply disappointed" that Israel approved the construction of more than 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem.
"We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties and we have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in Jerusalem," she said during her regular press briefing.
A panel of independent experts, in a report to the United Nations, said the destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, notably in East Jerusalem, must end.
"These actions by the Israeli authorities violate human rights and humanitarian law and must end immediately," they said in a statement.
The condemnation comes as Palestinian leaders push for a unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations. Washington said it would veto the measure, saying two-track negotiations with Israel were the best way to secure peace.
Nuland added that despite the disappointment with Israeli settlement activity, Washington still believes "the only way" to find a solution to the decades-long crisis "is through direct negotiations."