US Secretary of State John Kerry today asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the appropriation of 4,000 dunams of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank due to be annexed to the Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz Kerry phoned Netanyahu and expressed the US' anger at the appropriation of the land, noting the decision caused severe anger in the US Administration and Europe.
Haaretz said US Ambassador to Tel-Aviv Dan Shapiro had had several conversations with senior Israeli officials to express the administration's displeasure.
It also said that a senior US official said that Washington is also angry that "Israel did not update us in advance and surprised us with this decision".
The US State Department and several EU countries expressed their objection to the measure and called for Israel to retract it.
An EU spokesperson said: "At this delicate moment, any action that might undermine stability and the prospect of constructive negotiations following the cease-fire in Gaza should be avoided."
A senior European diplomat also reportedly criticised the Israeli decision, noting it was especially aggravating because of its timing. "The Israelis have found the best way to put their finger in the eyes of all their friends around the world," the diplomat said.
Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid said that this measure harms Israeli relations with the world.