The State Department sharply criticized Israel on Wednesday for taking steps to build hundreds of housing units in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
The rebuke returned the settlement issue to the spotlight four weeks after the United States and other nations criticized Israel for continuing to build in occupied territory.
John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, described the activities in a statement as “corrosive to the cause of peace.”
“These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Mr. Kirby said.
The Israel Land Authority sought bids to build more than 300 units in a belt of territory around Jerusalem that Israel annexed after the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.